Volunteers needed to help ‘Deep Clean’ Thames foreshore on some of lowest tides of 2013

2 days: Friday March 15, Saturday March 16, Isle of Dogs
MP Jim Fitzpatrick to join Saturday event

MP Jim Fitzpatrick will join hundreds of volunteers on the foreshore next week to give the River Thames a Deep Clean during some of the lowest daytime tides of 2013, led by Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity.

Volunteers are needed to take advantage of this brief annual opportunity to clean and green the vast expanses of river that are normally covered by regular tides. The fifth annual Deep Clean will focus on the Isle of Dogs – one of the river’s natural collection points and one of the worst affected areas for plastic bag litter.

Thames21 Chief Executive Debbie Leach said: “With your help, we have made massive gains at this site, but there are still layers of plastic bags beneath the river’s surface, which continue to pose a real threat to wildlife. This is a great opportunity to see our iconic river from a different perspective, and make a real and practical difference at the same time.”

Plastic bags have collected at this bend in the river for generations, weighed down by sand and currents where they break down into ever smaller, toxic pieces. Thames21 volunteers have removed more than 330,000 plastic bags that collect in the mud on the river bend at the Isle of Dogs since 2001, helping to transform the foreshore from a dense carpet of plastic bag litter, making use of these low tides to tackle waste far from the water’s edge. In last year’s Deep Clean, over 350 volunteers freed the river of over 10.5 tonnes.

The global problems with plastic litter in our oceans are increasingly recognised, though the link to our rivers is not so widely understood. Thames21 is a member of the Break the Bag Habit coalition, which is calling for a charge on single use carrier bags in England to break our growing dependency on these toxic and over-used items that harm wildlife and enter the world’s ocean’s through our rivers.

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse said: “The location and history of the Isle of Dogs is synonymous with that of the River Thames, but unfortunately, the famous bend in the river has also served as a collection point for our city’s litter. Hundreds of Londoners have made an amazing difference in cleaning up this spot through Thames21’s Deep Clean, and I urge as many people as possible to come along to this year’s event and help us realise the potential of this wonderful resource on our doorstep.”

Thames21 will provide all equipment, support and guidance necessary to help volunteers make a practical improvement to London’s environment. Those taking part will also get the rare chance to enjoy the foreshore at low tide, meet like-minded people and get a new perspective on the capital.

Individuals and small groups do not need to register but those coming in a group of more than 10 and those wanting more information are kindly requested to contact Alice Hall: alice.hall@thames21.org.uk/ 07824 692 592


Friday March 15
Poplar Rowing Club
8.30am – 11.30am
Ferry street, Cubitt town, Isle of Dogs, London, E14 3DT

Saturday March 16
Newcastle Drawdock
9.00am – 12.00pm
Glenaffric Avenue, Isle of Dogs, London, E14 3BJ

Both events are close to Island gardens DLR