Volunteers from Richmond businesses, residents, charities and the homeless community take part in Be Richmond ‘Get on Board’ Event.
All plastic/litter collected will be used to generate green energy – nothing to landfill.
Event covered by TV News.
On Thursday September 9th, over 220 people from all sections of the Richmond community including businesses, residents, charities, local councils, and members of the homeless community cleared an estimated half a tonne of plastic and other litter from the Thames and surrounding towpaths between Kew Bridge and Twickenham. All the waste collected will be used to generate green energy. Nothing will go to landfill.
Organised by Be Richmond and titled ‘Get on Board – Say No to Plastic Pollution’, the main purpose of the activity was to highlight the problem of single use plastic in our waterways.
Watch the Get on Board official video
See TV news coverage below.
Be Richmond manager, Ellen Amorina Storrar said:
“This was a hugely successful event. Plastic pollution of our oceans is a huge global issue. We know that most of the plastic in the oceans is originally discarded into rivers and the situation in the Thames is getting worse. By clearing our stretch of the Thames, Richmond has shown what is possible when the whole community works together. We are so proud of the efforts of our volunteers.”
An estimated 110 paddle boarders cleared plastic and rubbish from the Thames and connecting waterways between Kew Bridge and Richmond.
Local historical and environmental charity, Habitats & Heritage, led by CEO Colin Cooper, organised around 120 litter picking volunteers to clear towpaths on both sides of the river between Twickenham and Kew Bridge. Among the volunteers were people from the homeless community led by Shepherd’s Star, a Richmond charity dedicated to relieving poverty, hardship and social exclusion. Involvement in community projects helps people in crisis build self-confidence, develop skills and reignite individual potential.
Also taking part were Richmond council leader Gareth Roberts on the water and Mayor, Geoff Acton, on the towpath.
At the post-event reception at Gaucho, only bamboo plates and wooden cutlery were used, thus reinforcing the no single-use plastic message.
It was the third running of Get on Board following successful river clean ups in 2018 and 2019. The planned 2020 event had to be cancelled because of Covid.
Four Richmond businesses sponsored the event, including main sponsor PK Group, and official sponsors Minesoft, The Source Bulk Foods and Foot Solutions.
Most people are now aware of the terrible plastic pollution in our oceans, and it’s widely accepted that 90% of this pollution comes from 10 Asian and African rivers.
However, the problem of plastic contamination of river systems is much closer to home.
According to the Port of London Authority, plastic debris is now the most common form of rubbish found on the Thames and most of that plastic has only been used once.
A 2020 study by charity Thames21 titled ‘Plastic Pollution in The Tidal Thames’, reported a discernible increase in plastic consumer items and packaging in the river, with single-use plastic items making up 83% of all counted items.
Just five items represent nearly two-thirds of all plastic found. These are: food wrappers, cotton bud sticks, drink bottles and their lids, cups, and takeaway containers.
Research by Bangor University found 84.1 pieces of micro-plastic per litre of water in the Thames and another study by the University of London and the Natural History Museum found that more than a quarter of fish in the Thames Estuary are eating plastic.