Plastic Blitz – Rotary to Clean Up Thames

The beloved Thames is about to get a major clean up thanks to Rotary clubs across the Thames Valley.

Volunteers from Rotary, environmental community group Thames21 and others will conduct a Plastic Blitz between September 17 and 26, collecting rubbish both in the river and on the banks.

Different clubs will be working from near Oxford down into the Tideway. The Rotary Club of Henley-on-Thames will be covering the river from Shiplake to Hambleden locks on Sunday 18 September.

There will be a special focus on removing plastic, spurred on by the End Plastic Soup initiative sponsored by International Rotary and its local clubs. The initiative is also geared at stopping the accumulation of single-use plastic, with awareness programmes run by Rotary clubs, particularly in schools and with the young.

Humans create billions of cauldrons of plastic daily – around 1 million plastic bottles a minute, for example. But it doesn’t just go away: much of it gets dumped in our streams, rivers, and oceans.

How big is the problem? Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons already out there. Microplastics, meanwhile, end up in our water and food supplies.  You eat, drink, and breathe them — a typical human could be consuming more than 74,000 undigestible plastic microparticles a year.

Sadly, the Thames is a contributor. By the time it reaches the Channel, the Thames has turned into one of the worst major rivers in the world for microplastics, catching up with China’s Yangtze.

For this reason, Rotary is dedicated to working to both rid the Thames of plastic and, perhaps more importantly, to stop the use of single-use plastic in the first place.

For further information or to help, contact: Phil Fletcher