Richmond volunteers 'GetOnBoard' to tackle plastic pollution

  Posted: 11.09.21 at 10:54 by Rory Poulter

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A flotilla of paddle boarders were joined by an army of on shore litter pickers this week to help clear the Thames of plastic pollution.

The GetOnBoard giant litter picking event started at Kew and the armada of volunteers made their way down the Thames before coming to a stop at Richmond Bridge.

The event was organised by BeRichmond, which is the brand created be Richmond BID (Business Improvement District) to represent over 300 businesses across Richmond upon Thames.

As the colourful group, which included Council leader, Gareth Roberts, moved along the river they picked up any visible floating plastics or general litter and stowed items in buckets on the boards.

They were joined by well over 100 litter pickers brought together by the Habitats & Heritage charity, which supports the natural and historic environment in south west London.

The teams picked their way through the undergrowth collecting many bags of plastic litter, including discarded cups, which appeared to come from picnickers and beer drinkers along the towpath.

Councillor Gareth Roberts and Mayor Geoff Acton. Credit: BeRichmond.

Organiser Gabriel Irwin, vice-chairman of BeRichmond, said: "We want to draw attention to the problem of single use plastic because it’s a real problem and it is poisoning our world.

"We had over a hundred litter pickers out on the river bank and by the end of the day we will have many full bags of rubbish."

At the end of their quest, the teams were welcomed by the mayor, Geoff Acton, who praised the ‘fantastic’ effort.

Describing the types of litter found over the course of the day, one volunteer said: "A lot of the older stuff was just small ribbons sitting in the trees which were at one point full plastic bags.

"It's certainly damaging the environment and people need to be careful when throwing their plastic away."

The army of volunteers celebrating their efforts. Credit: BeRichmond.

Plastic pollution makes up 80per cent of the rubbish taken out of the Thames - a worrying statistic as these break down into microplastics that can harm the river life.

By way of reward the volunteers, who filled a mountain of rubbish bags, ended the day with a steak meal provided by the team at the Gaucho restaurant.

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