Fish collected from the Thames have been determined to have microplastics in their gut. As much as 75% of flounder had microplastics in their guts. Much of these were microplastic fibres.
“This is not just a problem along the river; it’s affected by litter from across London,” explained the authority’s environment manager, Tanya Ferry.
“So you might discard plastic near Buckingham Palace or Selfridges but if it gets into the drains, those drains could potentially discharge into the Thames and carry those plastic pieces with them.”
The PLA has 16 barges positioned on the river to catch floating debris. Called “passive driftwood collectors”, these devices are increasingly catching plastic, not fallen tree branches.
Some 400 tonnes of rubbish are being caught annually, and while that mass has stayed fairly stable over time, its volume has shot up, indicating that discarded plastic is on the rise.
This work has resulted in the Port of London Authority (PLA) launching a nifty campaign to raise awareness of plastic pollution. They have also teamed up with a bunch of charities to ask people to “Do The Right Thing” and make sure their trash gets put in the right place. The bin.