With its long history of tin and copper mining, the Lynher, Plym and Tamar rivers running into the Plymouth Sound have been the carriers of precious metals, and mining waste including lead and arsenic seeping into the ocean. The industrialisation of waterways around the city, and the mining-derived siltation of the riverbed, has dried up important riparian ecosystems that used to filter the mineral-rich riverbanks. At the same time, the recent prospect of reopening a tungsten mine in the area is awakening new ghosts from the past. The living legacy of mining paralleled with the effects of the climate crisis is likely to expose Devon and Cornwall to increasing periods of flash floods that are likely to release heavy metals stored in soils, washed out into the region’s waterways. Blaxton Meadows is an example of the region’s heavy metal legacy, as it contains waste industrial solids contaminated with arsenic, copper, lead, and tin, that were brought in to create a level surface.
Within this workshop, participants will be led by Cally Barrett to discuss the heavy metal contamination within Blaxton Meadows, on the River Plym. The group will learn simple methods to identify and map heavy metals held within the soil, and consider the histories that led to the site's pollution. Climavore lunch is also provided.
12:00 – 13:00: National Marine Aquarium workshop
13:00 – 13:45: Lunch
13:45 – 15:00: Citizen Science activity
Wet weather plan: Will go ahead unless a severe weather warning is given, if this is the case we will collect the samples and then work in the Aquarium.
Date: Saturday 25 February 2023
Time: 12.00 - 15.00
Venue: Teats Hill Park Amphitheatre, Plymouth, PL4 0LY
Ticket information: Free