Guest blog from Hubbub: Are you a tidy litterer? #FFSLDN things need to change

 We love the Thames. The Southbank is home to our monthly meetings and Street Wisdom explorations, we have held pronoia festivities in Embankment and every Earth Hour we walk along the river at dusk to celebrate our beautiful planet.

And we love this campaign by our friends at Hubbub #FFSLDN – “For Fish’s Sake”, we think you will too.

Get involved @6_heads @hubbubUK #FFSLDN

‘Tidy Litterers’ are polluting the River Thames; #FFS things need to change

Guest blog by Trewin Restorick – Hubbub UK

This week Hubbub UK launches ‘For Fish’s Sake’ #FFS tackling litter in the River Thames. Around 300 tonnes of litter is scooped out of the river annually but much is not caught and instead is swept out to sea adding to the well-documented waste in our oceans. Litter is also harming the local environment. A 2015 study by the Royal Holloway University found that 70% of fish sampled from the River Thames had plastic fibres in their gut.

 

Whilst there is growing concern about marine litter many people do not connect it with their daily habits and routines. Recent polling commissioned by Hubbub of 1,000 Londoners reveals that over half admit to squeezing litter into bins that are clearly overflowing. Common tidy-littering habits that Londoners say they’ve seen include leaving litter next to a bin (54%), placing drinks containers on a wall or other surface (56%) and putting rubbish down storm drains (30%).

Overflowing bin near Hammersmith BridgeThese ‘Tidy Litterers’ are unwittingly causing small pieces of litter such as travel tickets, food wrappers, disposable crockery and cigarette butts to end up in the river. These small items are hard to retrieve and are have increased chances of ending up in the oceans or the marine food chain.

Over the next six months Hubbub will be collaborating with a diverse range of organisations including the Port of London Authority to run a series of playful interventions designed to encourage Londoners to rethink their ‘Tidy Littering’ habits.

Each intervention will build on proven behaviour change techniques, implement approaches that have been tested elsewhere in the world and provoke discussion and debate.

We have created a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ showcasing some of the more unusual things that pulled from the river – including a love poem in a bottle for Kate Tempest! All of these items were picked from the foreshores of the River Thames by the artist Maria Arceo, who is creating an installation to raise awareness of river pollution.Nudge techniques will be used to get people to rethink daily habits. For example, Grate Art will use stencilled fish shapes around drains to make the connection between litter going into the drains and where it is likely to end up.

An on-going poster and social media campaign using #FFSLDN will create a further sense of pride in the River Thames by telling the stories of people who live, work and play on the river. Interactive communications including voting bins, seaside boards and colourful vinyls will continually reinforce the message at busy public sites along the river. To create a sense of playfulness and engagement, a range of events will take place including a ‘Fish Fight Back’ Zorbing event in St Katherine’s Docks in August.

To demonstrate to Londoners what happens to the litter we discard Hubbub is tracking the journey of commonly littered items, allowing us to better understand how items make their way into the river. A trial of this after the Boat Race in April followed a littered item into the river where it drifted between Putney and Battersea for a number of days.

In the autumn we will be announcing a major new initiative that will show that not only is litter creating pollution in the River Thames but that the stuff we are throwing away can be transformed into other products of value.

As with all Hubbub campaigns we have appointed an independent evaluation agency to monitor the impact of the interventions and we will continually keep you informed of developments, or you can follow progress using the hashtag #FFSLDN.

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