Taking action against plastic in wet wipes to protect our rivers

Our charity has striven to protect and transform the River Thames and its tributaries since 1994. We are not stopping in that task.

In fact, our main purpose is to see the health of our rivers and their habitats improve to support wildlife and human life, and connect communities to our rivers.

The problem

However, the River Thames and its tributaries are suffering a plague of wet wipes.

Of the 11 billion of these disposable wipes sold each year in Britain, an estimated 2.5 billion are wrongly flushed down the lavatories. of the Thames riverbed revealed a “reef” of wet wipes that has grown to the size of two tennis courts in Hammersmith, west London, changing the contours of the river and threatening its wildlife.

The principle problem is that 90% of wet wipes, even some labelled “flushable”, are made with plastics that do not break up like tissue paper when flushed. Pollutants such as wet wipes mount up on the foreshores of slow-moving parts of the river after sewage overflows dump them into the water. Wet wipes enter rivers, snagging on twigs and rocks on the foreshore before natural sediments glue them together.

The solution

We are calling for a ban on the sale of all wet wipes containing plastic. If plastic in wet wipes are banned this will lead to less sewage in our river. This is because wet wipes with plastic in them can cause blockages which back up sewage that spill into our rivers.

The government has launched a public consultation on the issue. This means that the public can offer feedback to the government on the topic to change policy to get manufacturers to ban plastic in their wet wipes.

What you can do

If you want to make a positive difference to the health of the River Thames, fill out the online consultation below.

Fill in consultation 

Note – There is currently an issue around question five, when it asks if ‘you are an organisation’. Please state you are filling it out as an individual, if you are.  

Write to your MP

Your MP represents you in parliament and as a constituent, you have the power to support the consultation. As the momentum grows, now is the time to take the next step in the fight to ban plastic in wet wipes and ask your MP to join the movement.