New art installation to shine a light on the health of River Thames for London environment charity

Date of release: March 16 2017
An incredible art installation which uses a dazzling display of lights to reflect the health of the River Thames is to be unveiled on its banks today on behalf of London environment charity Thames21.

Called ‘Thames Pulse’, the massive interactive work of art will be featured on the front of the iconic Sea Containers building on the South Bank.

The innovative high-tech installation will use data from samples taken daily from the waters to create a display to reflect the river’s health – whether improving, static or declining compared to the previous day’s data reading.

The aim is to raise public awareness about the condition of the Thames – as well as adding a beautiful new attraction to the capital.

The stunning piece has been made by acclaimed artist Jason Bruges, who has previously created astonishing light displays at the top of the Shard, and is being launched by London media agency MEC UK together with Thames21, the capital’s leading waterways charity.

Thames21 aims to engage the public with issues affecting London’s legendary river. It also collects data about its health through its Thames River Watch project, supported by Tideway, the company delivering the super sewer in London, to tackle sewage pollution in the river.

Water quality updates will be posted on a regular Twitter Feed @ThamesPulse and the Thames Pulse webpage along with calls to action to join Thames21 volunteering projects.

The Thames Pulse project also aims to highlight Thames21’s work and to encourage Londoners to explore and reconnect with their iconic river. Ideal ways for them to do this are through Thames21’s clean-ups, citizen science programmes and foreshore events.

The goal is also to help Londoners understand how they can help improve the Thames’ health in their daily lives. These range from not pouring detergents and other pollutants into rainwater drains in the road, to buying reusable water bottles, reducing their reliance on plastic packaging and disposing of plastic water bottles and other packaging responsibly.

This has been captured in a ten-point Thames Pulse Manifesto to help Londoners understand what they can do to help the river.

The lights are being switched on at a high profile event at Mondrian London at Sea Containers on 16th March at 6.30pm.

Verra Budimlija, Chief Strategy Officer, MEC UK, said: “The Thames is the lifeblood of our city, but often we don’t celebrate it. We want to help Londoners understand more about their wonderful river’s health and take action. By taking the complex data that exists in the river and transforming into a beautiful artistic visualisation, we can help Londoners reconnect with The Thames and be excited by it.”

Jason Bruges, Founder and Creative Director of Jason Bruges Studio, said: “The data we take from the Thames tells a vital story of the life in the river, and Sea Containers is the perfect site-specific canvas on which to illustrate that story. We are delighted to be working with such innovative partners on this project, and to have the opportunity to create an installation so relevant to the river and those who interact with it.”

Debbie Leach, Chief Executive of Thames21, said: “There are many misunderstandings and conflicting messages about the health of the River Thames. Our Thames River Watch project gives ordinary Londoners the opportunity to investigate these issues for themselves. We are delighted to be working with MEC UK on the Thames Pulse. We are unlocking the mystery of how clean the Thames is and the challenges it faces on a daily basis. We’d love more Londoners to join us.”

The Thames Health Manifesto – 10 Things Every Londoner Can Do Today to Help Our River
1. Get down to the Thames foreshore when you can: it’ll change your life
2. Dispose of or reuse plastic packaging – this includes plastic bags. The rubbish you throw on the streets ends up in the Thames.
3. Invest in a lovely reusable coffee cup or a glass reusable water bottle. Coffee cups and plastic bottles are among the worst pollution offenders.
4 Avoid products which come in lots of plastic packaging – opt for brands which use recyclable materials
5. Check out the Thames21 events calendar and attend one of its Clean Up or restoration events
6. Get involved in the Thames River Watch citizen science research programme – you only need to spare a couple of hours a month and it’s a great excuse to get down to the Thames
7. Bin wet wipes and cotton bud sticks – don’t flush these down the loo. These are entering the Thames in their thousands. Better still avoid them altogether and use plastic-free alternatives
8. Find your local river! The Thames has many tributaries – find out which one is near you and how it connects to the Thames. Is it in good shape? They all feed rubbish into the Thames
9. Check out these three great campaigns: #OneLess, Cleaner Thames and Sky’s Ocean Rescue Campaign
10. Nag your council for more green wetland spaces in your area – these are known as Rainscapes or SuDS (sustainable drainage systems), and help trap pollution from roads and drains

Notes for editors

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

Media Contact

Ian Lamont

Communications Manager at Thames21

Mobile 07739 627 667 Office 020 7248 7171