With hard work, collaboration and firing the public’s imagination, London’s rising tide of single-use plastic water bottles could soon be on the decline.
Thanks to recently funded research by The Oak Foundation, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a city-wide, high profile campaign was launched in June in order to reduce the number of disposable plastic water bottles flowing out to sea and contaminating the world’s oceans.
The aim is to explore the best solutions to enable London to become the first capital city to be free of disposable plastic water bottles. We want to do this by celebrating that Londoners have perfectly clean drinking water on tap. We want to restore historic water fountains and install new ones.
The campaign and research will be delivered by a coalition of organisations that includes the Zoological Society of London, the Thames Estuary Partnership, Communications Inc, the Marine Conservation Society and Forum for the Future, among others.
The plastic litter problem
In just a few decades since cheap, mass production of plastic began in the 1950s, it has come to dominate our lives. A plastic bottle is often used for just minutes or seconds before being thrown away.
While it floats in the Thames or in the ocean, plastic leaches marine-toxic chemicals into the water. Plastic in all its forms is killing marine creatures, poisoning fish and entering the food chain.
Plastic is recognised as one of the most significant and growing sources of pollution threatening ocean health.
London alone drinks 2 million plastic bottles of water daily. The Port of London Authority collects around 250 tons of debris and rubbish from the tidal Thames each year, most of which is plastic.
We are at the start of this campaign, so we are keen to hear ideas and initiatives from around the city and beyond. Get in touch with Amy Pryor at TEP, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also show your support for the campaign by posting a selfie with your favourite reusable water bottle using #OneLess.
For more information on the #OneLess campaign, go to:
TEP also facilitates a litter forum which brings together key Thames organisations to work on reducing litter in the Thames. More information on the Litter Forum