Target: Gareth Morgan, Director of London Regions at London Wildlife Trust
Goal: Clean the Thames River of garbage that has fallen to the bottom of the river bed, polluting the water and endangering wildlife
Researchers from the Royal Holloway, the University of London, and London’s Natural History Museum have recently partnered together to study an invasive Chinese mitten crab and eel population in the Thames River, casting nets to potentially catch the species for further study. What they found, however, is even more disturbing—shocking amounts of garbage that has been hidden at the bottom of the Thames, a river that was once thought to be exceptionally clean. They began documenting the amount of trash collected over a three month period instead, publishing their findings in the Marine Pollution Bulletin.
Over the three month period, researchers collected almost 8,500 plastic trash items, including cups and food wrappers. However, 20 percent of the trash found are sanitary items that scientists believe were flushed down toilets. This is great cause for concern, and scientists believe this could only be the beginning, with bigger items sinking to the bottom of the river, unable to be captured by their nets.
According to Dr. Dave Morritt, senior lecturer in marine biology at Royal Holloway, “This underwater litter must be taken into account when predicting the amount of pollution entering our rivers and seas, not just those items that we can see at the surface and washed up on shore. The potential impacts this could have for wildlife are far reaching: not only are the species that live in and around the river affected, but also those in seas that rivers feed into.”
The trash directly impacts the wildlife in the river, with animals often getting trapped in larger plastic items, and mistakenly eating smaller items, potentially causing serious illness or death in many cases. Plastic can also release toxic chemicals when broken down by the tides and then consumed, toxins that will be passed down through the food chain, potentially causing great harm to the entire ecosystem.
Demand that initiatives be put in place immediately to save the Thames River from the toxic trash that has hidden beneath the surface for far too long.
Dear Gareth Morgan,
Recent studies by researchers at the University of London, the Royal Holloway, and London’s Natural History Museum have revealed disturbing amounts of trash that have been hidden along the bottom of the Thames River. In their efforts to study wildlife, they instead found copious amounts of plastics and sanitary garbage, what they believe to be only the tip of the iceberg, with much more, and larger, pieces of trash polluting the floor of the Thames.
This trash pollution could greatly impact the ecosystem, with many animals getting caught in larger pieces of plastics, and even more animals mistakenly consuming smaller pieces of plastic that have been broken down by the tide. These pieces of plastic that are ingested can release toxic chemicals into their body, toxins that are then passed down through the food chain. Wildlife is in danger, and now that we have discovered the pollution in the Thames it is imperative that something be done as soon as possible to begin reversing the damage.
It is thought that the Thames River is incredibly clean; however this study has proven otherwise. Please put into place an initiative to clean-up the Thames as soon as possible, to save wildlife and prevent other bodies of water that connect to the Thames from being polluted as well.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Davies via Flickr