Foreshore clean-up event celebrates cousin rivers Ganges and Thames

Waterways charities Thames21 and Ganga Action Parivar team up to deliver a special clean-up event celebrating two of the world’s most iconic rivers.

Coinciding with the visit to London of two of India’s most revered spiritual leaders,
Thames21, Ganga Action Parivar and the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance will join together and deliver a special foreshore clean-up event on the Isle of Dogs on Friday July 18th.

The event immediately precedes a symbolic “Water Blessing” ceremony at the House of Commons, where Ganga Action Parivar founder,His Holiness Pujya Swami ChidanandSaraswatiji, who is also co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, and President of one of India’s largest spiritual institutions, ParmarthNiketan Ashram in Rishikesh, and founder of Swaminarayan GurukulParivar, His Holiness PujyaMadhavpriyadas Swami , joined by renowned leaders of the major religions, will be pouring the water onto a globe as a symbol of prayers that all people across the world should have access to clean, safe and sufficient water, and that the waters of the world should flow cleanly and pristinely.

Lasting from 12 noon – 2pm at Newcastle Draw Dock, the clean-up event is connected to Thames River Watch, which is a project recently launched by Thames21. Aiming to understand the health of the tidal Thames, the project invites all Londoners to get involved.

Julia Makin, Thames River Watch Programme coordinator said: People across the world are starting to pay attention to the health of rivers and their ecology. In London, we have a great opportunity to highlight these issues through our Thames River Watch project, which helps Londoners understand more about the the health of the tidal Thames.

I am pleased to be joining forces with Ganga Action Parivar to reflect on the improvements that still need to be made, not only to the Thames environment, but the rivers of the world. Key to this approach is welcoming all Londoners to play a practical part in cleaning it up and we look forward to greeting volunteers old and new at this special event.”

HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji said: “We connect ourselves to the creator in many ways, but the time has come now to take care of creation. Over 500 million people live along the basin of the Ganges and the pollution from the river is causing enormous harm. It is an environmental issue, a health issue and a human rights issue. Better sanitation and hygiene is one of the greatest concerns for humanity. We need all religions and creeds to come together to ensure we leave a better legacy for the next generation”.

HH Swami Madhavpriyadasji echoed HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji’s concerns and added that there was a lot to be learnt from Britain and the rest of Europe in how to clean and maintain their rivers: “Indian saints have been inspired by Europe and the US, where rivers are kept clean and maintained for use by future generations,” he said. “There are a lot of efforts on in the UK and people are aware, but we hope the worldwide publicity that the Thames clean-up will bring will inspire more people to come forward and take part in this initiative.”

Everybody is welcome to join the clean-up event. Wellies, gloves, litter pickers and soft drinks will be provided – you just need to bring yourself and get stuck in. Under 16s must be accompanied.

More details on the event can be found here:

For all media enquiries contact Martin Holm:, 07827 352 675.

For more information about Thames River Watch contact Julia Makin:

For more information about Ganga Action Parivar contact Rena Pathak:

Notes for editors

1. Ganga Action Parivar (GAP) is a family (Parivar means family in Hindi) of multi-agency organisations and volunteers who are dedicated to protecting and restoring the Ganges river. GAP is structured to work in all fields of river preservation and runs a wide range of projects including regular clean ups of the banks, working with expert working groups, lobbying for legislative and political change, media campaigns and international collaboration.

2. The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) is an alliance of interfaith leaders working to bring improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene. GIWA was launched by UNICEF at their New York headquarters in September 2013.

2. Thames21 in an environmental charity (registered number 1103997) which works with thousands of volunteers each year to improve London’s rivers, canals and ponds.