Plastic water bottles one of worst Thames polluters, says Thames River Watch report

As our report launched this week, Sky News’ Plastic Tide documentary and anti-waste campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall echoed our calls  for a deposit return system

Our latest report has some disturbing findings about Thames plastic.

Thames River Watch citizen scientists found 2,500 single-use plastic bottles in just one day’s foreshore count last year, and overall, plastic bottles make up 10 per cent of all litter items in our Thames River Watch surveys.

Shockingly, nearly half of all plastic bottles found in our Thames surveys were from single-use mineral water bottles, despite the fact that bottled water has been found to be no better than tap water.

Overall, the data shows that only a quarter of plastic litter found relates to products themselves – the packaging that surrounds them is responsible for three-quarters of all plastic litter in our surveys.

The report’s timing coincides with the launch of Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign this week, and its Plastic Tide documentary, which featured the Thames River Watch research programme.

Anti-waste campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall supported our call for a deposit return system this week – which has helped solve the plastic packaging waste problem in other countries.

He said: “Thames River Watch’s shocking statistics underline where huge numbers of disposable plastic bottles end up – our local rivers, which then channel thousands of them daily into the sea. If we’re to solve the problem of plastic litter in the oceans, we need to deal with it at source.”

Debbie Leach, Thames21’s Chief Executive, said: “Most of this litter could be prevented through less product packaging, and making it plastic-free where possible. A deposit return system has helped tackle the bottle problem in other countries – it’s time the UK government took similar action  to save our rivers and oceans.”

Get the key points from the report here.

Sky’s Plastic Tide documentary is here.