A Cleaner Thames after the Challenge

The River Thames is now lighter by 8 tonnes of litter following the immense effort of volunteers over the weekend.

Despite wet and misty conditions, 267 people came out in force to help clean up the dirtiest stretches of the Thames from Thursday to Sunday.  This year, the Cleaner Thames Challenge tackled the river foreshore at the south side of Hammersmith Bridge, the south side of Battersea Bridge, the notoriously littered Isle of Dogs and Erith Marshes.

Thames21 Programmes Coordinator Alice Hall said : “We were thrilled to have such a strong show of support for London’s river again at this year’s Cleaner Thames Challenge.
“We were joined by many of our regular hard-working volunteers, and there were also a lot of new faces at all the sites. They did a great job in removing a lot of harmful litter from the river, but obviously our job isn’t done yet, and we still have a lot of work to do in changing the way we discard of our waste and look after our waterways.”

Hammersmith provided the most drama, with four guns discovered on the foreshore amongst all other manner of debris such as floating plastic waste, sanitary items and unwanted household goods, that plague the river.

Thames21 Bexley coordinator Michael Heath is hoping that the event at Erith Marshes will help raise awareness of a forgotten natural resource:
“Erith Saltings is a valuable historic and natural resource, which is popular with bird watches and provides important habitat as the last remaining salt marsh on the south bank of the Thames. Unfortunately this site is not currently as well respected as it should be and is subject to vandalism as well large amounts of floating litter left by high tide. Thames21 aims to build on the success of yesterday with more regular events at this site in order to help raise awareness of this asset and encourage on-going protection if the salt marshes.”

This year’s Cleaner Thames Challenge also provided a chance for people to get involved in our Your Tidal Thames project, which Thames21 is co-leading with Thames Estuary Partnership. This is a Defra-funded project which is taking a community approach to river management, capturing Londoners views, concerns and ideas about the tidal Thames to help shape a catchment plan for future management of the river by the end of 2012. To have your say or to find our more, click here.