Over 125 people joined us during the 3 days, hauling 4 tonnes of litter from the river’s edge at low tide in events sponsored by M&G Investments. Volunteers were also part of a global effort to rid our rivers, lakes and ocean of waste in the International Coastal Cleanup.
While we had a slightly lower turnout than in previous years, with volunteers perhaps deterred by a wet and cold start to the week, morale was still high and those that came approached the task with gusto. Regular volunteer and local MP Jim Fitzpatrick rolled his sleeves up and got muddy with us on Friday at the Isle of Dogs, while a large group of Roehampton University students joined the effort on Saturday at Hammermsith.
As predicted, plastic bags made up for the bulk of litter at the Isle of Dogs. The site is no longer the thick carpet of bags it once was, thanks to many years of mass volunteer events such as this. However, on closer inspection their thin translucent remnants poke out of the sand across the foreshore, embedded and nearly hidden by mud, making for satisfying work to dig out. The bags emerge muddy, but often intact, documenting their use over the decades.
It is anticipated that the Government’s welcome announcement of the introduction of a charge on single use carrier bags in 2015 will see a sharp decrease in this type of litter.
The litter at Hammersmith Bridge was more varied, with shoes, traffic cones and tyres, rope and fishing debris, shopping trolleys and sewage related debris scattered across the foreshore, with no shortage of tasks over the two days.
If you missed the Cleaner Thames Challenge and want to join in, or if you came and can’t wait for another chance to help your local waterway, please look at our calendar of events and find something that suits you.