Cigarette butts were the most common plastic item litter pickers found in England’s waterways during the 2 week annual charity event Plasticblitz.
As part of the Plasticblitz event, organised by environmental charity Thames21, volunteers clear litter from rivers and riverbanks, recording what they find and recycling it where they can.
The Plasticblitz sees community groups, environmental charities, rotary clubs and Environment Agency staff taking part in a mass litter pick and citizen science event on England’s waterways.
For the first time, Plasticblitz partners collaborated with a new charity, ReAP UK, which specialises in recycling aquatic plastic. This was also the first year that the Plasticblitz expanded beyond the Thames basin.
Over two weeks this summer, the Environment Agency (EA) said:
- Cigarette ends were the most common plastic items, followed by drinks lids and food wrappers.
- 585 volunteers cleared around 58km of river.
- 699 bags of rubbish were collected.
- 71% of recorded waste was plastic.
Maria Herlihy, a waterways manager at the Environment Agency, commented: “Plasticblitz is a great initiative and we were happy to take part again this year.
“Although the figures for plastic pollution are shocking, it’s always great to see how much difference determined volunteers can make to our rivers.
“And everyone has a part to play – by reducing their plastic waste and disposing of it responsibly. Please – pick up your butts!”