We make no apologies for this month featuring two environment issues. This one certainly shows that each and every person on our fragile blue planet can do their bit to preserve it.
Visitors to the Positively Putney Summer Party and the Great River Race, London’s river marathon, on 8th September found a fishmonger’s stall with a difference. The environmental charity Hubbub‘s ‘Catch of the Day’ displayed the “freshest” plastic and unusual rubbish fished from the River Thames. The colourful stall, complete with a cheeky fishmonger and scuba diver, was set up to make the 330 crews from around the globe taking part and the thousands of spectators on the day think twice about how they dispose of their litter.
Catch of the Day is part of the For Fish’s Sake (#FFSLDN) campaign to raise awareness of how litter in our waterways is harming marine life both in the river and out at sea. The issue of plastic pollution in our oceans is now well known, but closer to home the Thames is home to 125 species of fish and up to 75% of flounder in the river have been found to have ingested plastic1.
For Fish’s Sake has been brought to Putney, South West London by Hubbub in partnership with Wandsworth Council, Positively Putney and Port of London Authority. The campaign is calling on people who live, work or visit the River Thames and other waterways in the UK to help stem the flow of litter. The campaign was piloted last year and reduced riverside litter in the test area around London Bridge by 32%.
Here’s what you can do:
* Use the bin – not the gutter, not the river, not the pavement
* If you see some litter and you’re near a bin – pick it up
* If the bin is full, find another one or take your litter home
Gavin Ellis, Co-founder and Director of Hubbub said: “In London alone, 300 tonnes of rubbish are cleared from the Thames each year; 80% of this has travelled from land, from our hands and it ends up harming marine life both here and out at sea. The Thames is enjoyed by so many – from the families enjoying walks together to houseboat owners, from people who work on the Thames to rowing clubs. With this campaign, we aim to make it fun and easy for as many people as possible to take really simple actions, which can make a huge difference.”
Lending his support to the campaign, British Rower and triple Olympic Gold Medallist and quadruple World Champion Andrew Triggs-Hodge said: “Litter in the river is a huge problem, whether it is litter blown on from the street or sewage derived litter. As a rower, I have spent much of my life training and competing on water, including the River Thames. It’s sad to see waterways littered with rubbish like plastic and the negative impact it has on the wildlife. Our rivers and canals are beautiful living environments and we all have a duty to look after them and protect them. I’m proud to support and empower social change in this area; I’m even prouder when I pick up a bit of litter and bin it.”
Catch of the Day is one of many eye-catching and engaging initiatives brought to Putney, South West London, where voting litter bins, ‘grate art’ and colourful posters are gracing the Thames Path as For Fish’s Sake aims to help stem the flow of litter into that part of the River Thames in a playful and powerful way.
Cllr Steffi Sutters, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Open Spaces, Wandsworth Council said: “Putney riverside is a beautiful part of London and people enjoy coming here all year round. I’m delighted that #FFSLDN is in our part of the capital and it is good to see locals and visitors get behind the campaign to make it a success in Putney so it can be rolled out to other parts of the UK.”
Nicola Grant, Executive Director, Positively Putney Business Improvement District said; “It is very important to local businesses that Putney looks clean and tidy. The River Thames is such an important part of Putney town centre’s character and therefore we are very happy to support this initiative to reduce litter and to protect the river.”