Charity launches a blitz on plastic in Thames and its tributaries

Volunteers will take part in the biggest community clean-up of plastic in the River Thames and its tributaries, including the River Wandle, over the next month.

Rubbish haul: volunteers in last year’s Plasticblitz with some of what they cleared on the foreshore

“Plasticblitz” is being organised by environmental charity Thames21 for the second year.

Thames21 will also team up with community organisation Rotary in the Thames Valley to lead a total of 40 groups to clear litter from these rivers and their banks from the river’s source in Gloucestershire all the way to the estuary marshes at Rainham close to where the Thames enters the sea.

These teams will be asked to record the data on the types of plastic litter they find in order gather evidence to help gain a better picture of the types of litter entering the Thames.

This data will feed into an EU-wide Preventing Plastic Pollution project, which aims to understand and reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in river and marine environments via behaviour change, targeting hotspots and finding solutions.

Last year, groups filled 139 bin bags of plastic pollution gathered from the Thames, including a floating fake crocodile head, a large paddling pool and model R2D2.

All washed up: low tide is when many pieces of rubbish emerge from the Thames

A total of 6,557 items of waste were removed from rivers and riverbanks; 72per cent of this waste was made of plastic. The worst offenders were drinks cans (941), plastic drinks bottles (819), cigarette stubs (616) and crisp packets (533).

“We already know that globally much of the plastic found in our oceans enters via rivers, though data on litter in the freshwater environment is sparse compared to that in the marine environment,” Thames21 said.

“However, there is a growing body of evidence to show how bigger plastics are breaking down into microplastics and negatively impacting wildlife, nature and humans.”

Debbie Leach, the chief executive at Thames21, said: “Our rivers are being devastated by a variety of different pollutants, including runoff from road networks, sewage pollution and large quantities of plastic. Plastic litter has no place in our rivers.

“So, it is great that the Plasticblitz has brought community groups back together for the second year to raise awareness of the issue and help us gather vital evidence to push for change. Pollution is a widespread problem and we must all act together to combat it.”

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1 Response to Charity launches a blitz on plastic in Thames and its tributaries

  1. Lewis White says:

    Caring for the water environment and the living creatures that live in it has to start with childhood.

    I think that all primary children should be taken to rivers and ponds, and taught how to fish responsibly, see fish, marvel at their beauty, then release them into the water, and watch water birds, and understand how dropping rubbish in or near water means that the fish and other water life get strangled, suffocated and poisoned by the trashing of their habitat by…trash.

    Education, education education..??? .or should it be LOVE LOVE LOVE the animals, fish, birds, insects, water plans, sea weed, and water life we can’t see without a microscope.

    Oh— and about raw sewage too.
    and not leaving the tap on while you brush your teeth….

    and why paving your front garden is bad for the rivers and our fellow human beings who are getting flooded every big storm…….

    Never too early to get children caring !

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