Treasure Your River launches to clean up the Thames


A major new campaign, Treasure Your River, launches today to help reduce the huge amount of litter entering the River Thames and subsequently the ocean. Thames21 and environmental charity Hubbub are calling for businesses, community groups, residents and other organisations situated along both the River Thames and River Lea to get involved.

The campaign will run over the remainder of the year and the programme of activities for this Summer, unveiled today, includes a local art installation in west London and a plastic fishing trip in east London.

From displaying posters and taking part in litter picks to hosting new bins, there is a part to play for every organisation along these rivers. Offices, pubs, bars, cafes and community groups are encouraged to sign up to access materials, join events and get further information about how they can get involved.

Hundreds of volunteers across the UK from organisations including the Angling Trust, Canal & River Trust, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy, Mersey Rivers Trust, Sustainable Hive, Thames21, The Rivers Trust and companies like Coca-Cola and Costa have already pledged to do their bit. And in London, the campaign has secured the support of local community groups.

Treasure Your River aims to be the UK’s largest ever collaborative effort to prevent and reduce the amount of litter in our waterways, tackling seven of the UK’s largest river systems: the Avon, Forth, Mersey, Severn, Taff, Thames and Trent and their tributaries. The campaign is being run by environmental charity Hubbub and supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation. It will initially focus on preventing litter from entering the rivers and clean-up activities in seven major cities based on these rivers and the waterways that flow into them – Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham, which between them are home to 1 in 6 of the UK population.

In 2019, Hubbub’s polling1 found that 75% of UK adults wanted to do more to help tackle marine litter. After a year of lockdown people’s appreciation of nature has risen further and Treasure Your River will provide more opportunities for people around the UK to get involved and help protect our rivers and seas. Treasure Your River will engage the public on how they can make a difference through simple changes such as taking their rubbish home with them, providing tools and guidance for litter picks and responsible disposal of fishing tackle. As well as tackling littering behaviour with eye-catching bins and activities, the campaign aims to create a legacy for each river, with an army of regular volunteers and litter-clearing infrastructure.

AJ McConville from Thames21 said “Treasure Your River is a great opportunity to bring people to their local rivers and engage in a fun and interesting way. These spaces are fantastic places to meet people and get the benefits of being in nature, which is available to all.”

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-founder of Hubbub said ”As lockdown restrictions are lifted there is increased concern about the amount of litter in our public and green spaces. Treasure Your River aims to make the connection between litter in our towns and cities and plastic in the oceans, and to offer people something positive they can do about it. The majority of plastics in the oceans are carried there by rivers; the River Mersey for example has proportionately higher levels of microplastic pollution than the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We invite any individual or organisations along these rivers to come together and help halt the flow of litter into the sea. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a local business, a sailing club, a school, a charity or a resident.”