Treasure Your River

Welcome! We’re part of the buccaneering, nationwide anti-plastic pollution campaign Treasure Your River and are looking for new recruits to join our crew.

Our rivers are the heart of our communities and are a treasured habitat for a huge range of animals and by humans alike. We’re working with environmental campaigners Hubbub, The Rivers Trust, and other leading charities to help keep our rivers ship-shape – and to stop plastic pollution reaching the ocean.

Plastic pollution affects rivers

The Treasure Your River campaign is tackling plastic pollution on six of the UK’s largest river systems: the Avon, Forth, Mersey, Severn, Thames and Trent and their tributaries. 

Thames21 is recruiting crew mates to help with activities in central London on the River Thames. Currently, about 300 tonnes of litter are removed by Thames21 and the Port of London Authority every single year. Since the middle of 2016, more than 125,000 plastic drink bottles have been removed by exceptional volunteers from Essex and London.

Overall, the campaign aims to remove 95 tonnes of litter from our rivers and prevent another 90 tonnes from entering them in the first place. Did you know that, annually, eight million tonnes of plastic finds its way to the sea (equivalent to 2.2 million orcas)? About 80% of plastic found in the ocean makes its way there from land through rivers and waterways.

The plastic that doesn’t make it out to sea can get stuck in tidal river systems, harming wildlife and rivers. Never breaking down, it takes many forms and can end up as microplastics that can be ingested by fish or other creatures, or in the case of wet wipes simply change the shape of the riverbank, confusing and hindering the grazing by water birds. All plastic, big or small, hinders river ecosystems. For example, according to the Natural History Museum, more than a quarter of fish in the Thames estuary are eating plastic.

Become a crew-mate for litter fishing adventures

From May until November we’ll be running events suitable for anyone to get on board. Here’s a taster of what you could get involved with:

  • Join a plastic fishing trip – climb aboard a boat made from 99% recycled plastic and help us fish for rubbish and abandoned treasures.
  • Take part in a scavenger hunt litter pick – make your mark and discover the difference you can make on a mini-litter-pick adventure.
  • Join the crew at TideFest for river dipping for families and where a ‘Fishmonger’ will be selling their wares found in the river
  • Captain our pirate (litter-eating) ghost ships – set sail while staying dry. Our remote controlled litter-busting boats will clear anything lurking on the water, no sailing experience required.

Sign up to take part

Ready to get started? Climb aboard by registering using the Treasure Your River booking form.

Eager to make a difference in the meantime? Visit the Thames21 website events page to help stop litter hitting the seven seas.

Change your habits, too!

Of course, we would encourage you all to follow the Treasure Your River campaign’s tips for preventing plastic reaching rivers in the first place. For example, consider ditching single-use plastic drinking bottles for a reusable one. You could also consider refilling containers instead of buying items in single-use plastic containers, and only flushing pee, poo and paper down the loo.