Become a Citizen Scientist to combat river plastic on the Isle of dogs

September 2016: The Big Count is back!

The Big Count is back this September as Thames21, a waterways charity keen on putting healthy rivers at the heart of community life, aims to discover more about the health of the Thames.


By undertaking a litter monitoring survey on Sunday September 18 on the Isle of Dogs, ordinary Londoners will contribute to Big Count data building a clearer understanding of the state of the Thames. The Big Count is a biannual campaign which takes place at key Thames litter hotspots, and part of Thames21’s Thames River Watch Programme.

AJ McConville, Thames River Watch Coordinator at Thames21 said: “We are building a picture of the river’s health to answer some of the most basic questions like “where is the litter coming from?” and “is the problem getting better or worse?” This information will also be invaluable in informing future campaigns and policies to improve the health of the river.”

Each March and September the campaign monitors the foreshore at Hammersmith and the Isle of Dogs which are two of the worst litter hotspot areas in London. The monitoring takes place at similar stages of the tide to provide data that is comparable year-on-year. The results from the Big Count are shared with the public biannually and shortly after each monitoring survey.

AJ said: “The Big Count is our flagship campaign to get people out onto the Thames collecting data on the health of the river. We really need Londoners’ support to identify which plastic items of plastic are blighting our rivers to help tackle the issue at source. Without their help we would simply not be able to cover the large Thames area in London.”

Londoners can also join a free Thames River Watch Training and become a guardian of the river by committing to monitoring a few hours a month as citizen scientists. The Isle of Dogs is planned to be a key hub site for Thames River Watch citizen science.

The Thames River Watch project is funded by Tideway.

How to join the Big Count:
When: 18 September: 9-11am
Where: Newcastle Draw Dock, Saunders Ness Road, (by the Great Eastern pub), Isle of Dogs, E14 3BW

All equipment provided. No training necessary, just turn up and we’ll show you what to do!

For further information please contact:
Kirsten Downer, Communications Officer at Thames21, 07711 701 696/020 7248 7171


Notes for editors
Thames River Watch is a citizen science project that captures vital information on litter and water quality issues in the tidal Thames – from Teddington all the way out to the estuary. It gives free training to Londoners who want to find out more about the health of the tidal Thames and help protect it.
More on Thames21’s Thames River Watch latest findings here:
About Thames River Watch: 
Social media: #BigCount @Thames21

About Thames21
Thames21 is an environmental charity putting healthy rivers back at the heart of community life. Through environmental improvements, education, research and advocacy efforts, Thames21 is inspiring and influencing effective and lasting change by working hand-in-hand with communities to deliver tangible and measurable improvements for urban rivers. | Registered Charity No. 1103997
Tideway is the organisation delivering the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The tunnel will tackle the problem of overflows from the capital’s sewers so it no longer enters the Thames.