Cleaner Thames Challenge

SEA LIFE London Aquarium - Cleaner Thames Challenge

On Saturday, 17th September, was the Marine Conservation Societies annual BeachWatch and Thame21s Cleaner Thames Challenge!

For the second year running, SEA LIFE London Aquarium got involved by joining forces with Thames21 and their volunteers to clean up the Thames riverbank. This year we were cleaning up by Kew Bridge and had a fantastic turnout by aquarium staff as well as friends and family!

SEA LIFE London Aquarium - Cleaner Thames Challenge

Getting to the riverbank turned out to be a mission in itself with an unbelievable amount of mud to wade through before we could even start cleaning. We very nearly lost a few people to the swamp but fortunately all 18 of us made it through in the end. The clean was a huge success with all the rubbish baskets being filled ahead of time!

There were no sawn-off shotguns discovered this year (as there was at the clean we aided in Greenwich 2010) but we did find lots of plastic rubbish, food packaging, sanitary towels, bras, pants, wallets, phones, bags, coats, sunglasses, shoes… even the back seats from a car! Everyone pulled their weight… there were no lazy volunteers in sight!

After the clean we all headed to the pub for a celebratory pint (or two) and some sustainable Pollock and chips! All in all it was a great success and we are looking forward to next year’s event already!

Well done to Claire Nixon, Aaron Topping, Laura Bristow, Hayley Clark, Rachel Wicks, Graham Banton, Bex Carter, Jenny Hickman, Katie Bunt, Will Burrell, Charles Fusari, Zuzana Burzikova Woghiren and Jamie Oliver representing SEA LIFE London… not to mention Emanuel, Terri, Tom, Luke and Jo… a very dedicated, noble group of partners and relatives!

Why we did it

Every year over 10 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans, not to mention all the other types of litter. Some of these plastics will not break down within the lifetime of the grandchildren of the people who threw them away. Millions of sea creatures are killed by this litter every year including sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, sea birds, all kinds of fish and many, many other species!

In the North Pacific is a swirling mass of plastic the size of Texas known as a ‘trash vortex’. Within it there is estimated to be 6 kilos of plastic for every kilo of plankton. There is another smaller one in the Atlantic which measures over 1000miles across.

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