Lifebuoy-shaped reminder to keep plastic waste out of Thames


Commuters using a busy riverboat stop in London’s Docklands now have a visual reminder of the importance of reducing plastic pollution in the Thames.

A bright orange lifebuoy-shaped bin with the tagline ‘Throw marine life a lifeline’ has been placed at Canary Wharf Pier, on the Isle of Dogs.

The first of its kind in the capital, the bin has been installed by the marine conservation charity GreenSeas Trust, which has previously placed bins on the beachfront at seaside resorts as part of its ‘BinForGreenSeas’ initiative.

The project, which will also include educational sessions with two local schools, has been made possible with £10,000 funding from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

GreenSeas Trust chose Canary Wharf as its first London location for its prominent position by the Thames and its world-leading sustainable credentials as a 24/7 sustainable community and a place to work, live and play.

Eight million tonnes of plastic enters oceans every year and a survey of 13 UK rivers in 2019 revealed the Thames was the second most plastic polluted river in the country.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“The environmental impact of plastic waste in our rivers and seas is a global problem, but one that we can all take action to address in our daily lives.

“This is a really innovative and striking way of raising awareness of the issue at a very busy location and encouraging people to bin their rubbish and reduce their plastic waste.”

The new bin, which has graphics and statistics on the outside to educate people on the issue, was officially opened by Lord Mayor of the City of London William Russell.

Later this month, GreenSeas Trust will run sessions on the importance of keeping plastic out of waterways with children from St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School and Harbinger Primary School, in Millwall.

GreenSeas Trust was founded in 2002 by Fazilette Khan, who was inspired to act after observing rubbish being thrown into the sea on the Caribbean island of Tobago, where her mother was born.

Fazilette Khan, Founding Trustee of GreenSeas Trust, said:

“Sometimes bins can blend into the background and people don’t use them. The idea of this bin is that its colour and shape means it works on a subconscious level and acts as a visual trigger, reminding people to dispose of their rubbish.

“The work we’ll be doing with local schools is aimed at getting children enthused about the river and marine conservation, and helping them learn about the small changes they can make to reduce plastic waste and improve the environment.”