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Urgent action needed to transform blot on the riverscape

Thames21 logoA charity is marking World Rivers Day on Sunday 30 September with a four-day clean-up of one of the River Thames' dirtiest beaches, and is urging Londoners to help.

Organised by environmental charity Thames21, the 'Cleaner Thames Challenge' will take place at low tide on the Isle of Dogs, East London from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 September.

Last year, Thames21 identified this stretch of the River Thames as one of the most littered in London and have since carried out a dozen clean-ups with hundreds of volunteers, removing over 40 tonnes of litter.

At low tide, small and large items of litter blight the Isle of Dogs foreshore including huge quantities of harmful plastics.  From this site alone, Thames21 have cleared at least 30,000 plastic carrier bags clogging up the foreshore over the past year.

Litter on the Isle of DogsThames21's River Programmes Coordinator, Matthew Loveday, said, "Set in the heart of the Olympic zone and with amazing views to Greenwich, the financial district of Canary Wharf and the O2 Centre, this littered stretch of the River Thames is a blot on the landscape, despite the improvements made.

"Thames21 needs as many volunteers as possible to help during the clean-up and participants can do as much or as little as they like.  It will also be a great chance for different parts of the community to come together with a common purpose of returning this river to health, benefiting the surrounding community and wildlife habitats."

Water scarcity, flooding, pollution and diminishing biodiversity are just some of the problems facing the world's rivers right now.  World Rivers Day on Sunday 30 September marks the last day of the Cleaner Thames Challenge and is an opportunity to celebrate the world's waterways and to encourage improved stewardship of rivers around the world – including the magnificent River Thames.


Thames21 will provide all equipment including boots, rubbish bags, Health & Safety and litter collection equipment.  Volunteers should wear old clothes appropriate to the weather.  An adult must accompany people under the age of 16. Bottled water and toilets will be available on site.

To register your interest please visit the Thames21 website (opens in a new window), contact Thames21 by email or telephone (0207 213 0160).

Event dates and times:

  • Thursday 27 September, 7:30am - 10:00am
  • Friday 28 September, 8:15am - 10:45am
  • Saturday 29 September, 9:00am - 11:30am
  • Sunday 30 September, 9:30am - 12:00pm

Meeting and kitting-out point:

  • Newcastle Drawdock, off Saunders Ness Road (click here for map)

Getting there:

Public Transport:

  • Island Gardens (Docklands Light Railway)

Cycle Parking:

  • Cycle parking is provided outside the Greenwich Foot Tunnel in Island Gardens. There are also cycle racks by the Police Station in Manchester Road.

Car Parking:

  • Ideally, leave the car at home and travel by public transport or bicycle! If this is impossible and you need to bring a vehicle please be aware that the area is a Controlled Parking Zone D with restrictions in place from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5:30pm. Pay and display spaces are available at £2 per hour, visit the Tower Hamlets Council website for more information (opens in a new window).