Londoners, show your love for London’s rivers

All kinds of slippery, creepy or fluttery creatures need your help.

Otters, trout, bats, kingfishers and eels all use London rivers – but they need help, from residents, to survive and thrive, in the face of plastic pollution, sewage and the impacts of climate change.

Residents concerned about the effect plastic bottles and bags are having on rivers are being offered unprecedented opportunities to take action by environmental groups.

South Londoners who value their rivers and want to find out more about the secrets of the 600 km network across the capital, can connect with them in more ways than ever before, say London Rivers Week organisers.

The week, now in its third year, has the theme of Valuing Water and will showcase some of these new ways the public can get involved, including through plastic litter picks, collecting plastic data, monitoring eels and dragonflies, and by test-driving prototype pollution-testing lab boats.

London Rivers Week will raise awareness about the well-being, social and economic benefits coming from rivers and all the water they supply for drinking, industry and agriculture.

“Eighty per cent of London’s drinking water comes from the river Thames and the Lea,” said Debbie Leach, chief executive of charity Thames21.

“We depend on our rivers for our water supply. We encourage Londoners to think about small changes they can make to value and conserve the water they use every day.”

Technology normally reserved for experts and scientific data collection are being entrusted to individuals and communities through new river-based citizen science projects.

“Communities and individuals are already producing key data about the impact of plastic on the Thames, and there are many other new ways they can show they value our rivers and water by helping to track pollution and protect species,” said Leach.

‘‘Now is the time for Londoners to reclaim their rivers and see how they’re doing. “As the saying goes, unless you value something you cannot save it – and our rivers do need saving.

So Londoners, show your love for London’s rivers by exploring them this London Rivers Week.”

Highlights of London Rivers Week include:

  • Plastic clean-up on precious chalk stream, Kingston, Tuesday, 26 June, 11am to 2pm.
  • Tideway will be conducting a tour of construction sites on the Tidal Thames for the new super sewer on a 100-seater clipper boat. The tour starts from London Bridge City Pier – Thursday, June 28, 6pm.
  • Blue Heart, film premiere screening, Farlows, Pall Mall, Westminster, Thursday, June 28 from 5.30pm-8pm.
  • Get up close to the fish of the River Thames, Kew, Saturday, June 30, 1pm-1.45pm.

Sponsorship for Rivers Week has been provided by Thames Water.

Richard Aylard, Thames Water’s External Affairs Director said: “Water is at the heart of the vital service we provide to customers across London, so we’re passionate about rivers and all they have to offer.

We hope people will get behind London Rivers Week and make the most of the chance to try a new activity or simply relax and enjoy the waterways.”

A full list of events can be found at: campaign/londonriversweek/

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