Thames clean up


Photo: John Tyson

We joined Thames 21 for the Big Bottle Count on Saturday 2 September. We picked up and counted plastic bottles, clear bottles for still water, fizzy drinks bottles, and milk bottles. Then we picked up a lot of plastic, mostly brightly coloured broken fragments gleaming against the pebbles and gravel. Here's a list of some of the things we found...

clear bottles

coloured bottles

lids of every colour



sweet and chocolate wrappers

coloured straws

bright blue cocktail straws

wrappers for juicebox straws

small baggies, some with leaf prints

flimsy white cutlery

flimsy black cutlery

ketchup dip pots

white disposable cups in shreds

corks, candles, clumps of bubblewrap

a purple cuddly toy from Macdonalds

a lego figure of Marge Simpson, blue hair flying high

a table football player, headless

fake seaweed for an aquarium

stalks from Remembrance Day poppies

stoppers, plugs, plant labels, cable ties, rawlplugs

washers, spacers, protectors, extenders

circuit boards

broken pallets

paint buckets

a three gallon tub labelled Wessex Chemicals

broken bits of hard white expanded polystyrene

burger boxes of shiny gold expanded polystyrene

yellow-brown expandable foam filler in rounded blobs

white packing noodles

a small green cog from a spirograph

something half-electronic, half-textile screwed to a lump of tarmac

part of a sign showing the letter 'A'

a fairy thimble or a foot for a clothes airer

a small yellow bouncy ball

lilac and silver gift wrap ribbon

a necklace of coloured beads

blister packs for disposable contact lenses

disposable razors

tampon applicators: white, turquoise and royal blue

cotton bud sticks

tubes of lip salve, eye drops, moisturiser

dummies, combs, toothbrushes...

It was satisfying to see the difference we'd made to one small section of the river, returned to the soft colours of sand, stone and driftwood. But the next tide will dump another pile of plastic on the shore, and that's just a small fraction of what's washed out to sea. The solution has to start with reducing single use plastics, better recycling and deposit schemes. You can find out more (and pledge to use a refillable water bottle) through the #OneLess campaign.

Thanks to all the Green volunteers from Southwark, and to Silvia for coordinating at Millwall Dock. Drop us a line on [email protected] if you'd like to join our next clean up.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.