The reality of plastic pollution was horribly clear when this river flooded.
Trees and shrubs along the banks were draped with ragged blue plastic bags.
The pollution tarnishes a patch of East London nature, a haven where kingfishers shoot into the water, bream come to spawn and black poplars, Britain’s rarest tree, grow next to the water.
The scene makes visible what normally remains invisible: plastic waste that falls into the water makes its way to the sea.
The shocking images come as the Great British Spring Clean 2021, hosted by Keep Britain Tidy, calls on our loyal army of readers to make the country cleaner and greener.
The reality of plastic pollution was horribly clear when this river flooded. Trees and shrubs along the banks were draped with ragged blue plastic bags. The pollution is infecting a piece of nature in Hackney, East London
The ugly trash, including wet wipes and flimsy plastic bags hanging from trees and bushes at Hackney Marshes in East London, has several sources.
Some came from the overflow of sewage drains – laden with trash such as sanitary towels and wet wipes – in the River Lea, as seen during heavy rains in February.
Other waste, such as litter and microplastics from car tires and brake pads, was washed up via the roads.
It’s a scene set in rivers and canals in the UK.
Environmentalist Julian Kirby campaigned against plastic with Friends of the Earth and now works for the nonprofit Plastic-Free Hackney.
He said last night, “The polluting plastic that smears the banks and branches of my favorite local beauty spot is just the smallest part of what got through those winter rains.
‘So much more was swept directly into the sea, where it will last for at least hundreds of years.
This won’t change until Boris Johnson and his ministers get serious about this plastic pollution crisis.
The ugly trash, including wet wipes and flimsy plastic bags hanging from trees and bushes at Hackney Marshes in East London, has several sources
They talk a good talk, but to borrow one of the prime minister’s favorite sayings, their response was wary.
‘A problem as big and complex as plastic pollution requires a well-considered, strategic approach, driven by legal objectives.’
Tim Evans, of the Hackney Marshes User Group, which collects litter in the area, said no official body would take the responsibility.
He said, ‘This area is a hidden treasure. This part of the river is both ecologically valuable and truly beautiful.
‘But it has a terrible waste problem. There is plastic waste and sewage, it is a complicated matter. ‘
Sewage is believed to be overflowing at an outlet in Tottenham, North London.
Mr Evans said there are also suspected rogue plumbing installations at riverside sites where people flush waste directly into the water ‘several times a year’.
The debris visible on the swamp would normally end up in the Thames and then into the sea.
Some of the waste washes up on the beaches along the Thames.
Mr. Evans added: ‘I find it very disturbing. I’ve been walking on swamps for over 30 years. I helped plant trees on the swamps. I really like it especially by the river it’s very, very shocking to see it’s so messed up. ‘
The volunteers are left to collect the waste, as it is not clear which municipality should take care of it.
Mr. Evans said, “We want to find out which authority is responsible for this part of the river. It is not navigable, so the Canals and Rivers Trust is not responsible.
Hackney Council is only responsible for the riverbank, not the river itself.
The Environment Agency has some responsibility for the dangers of pollution in the water.
But we try to communicate with them how much they are willing to do. ‘
Mr. Evans added, “The kingfishers and cormorants are there, but we don’t know how long, as if the fish can’t live in the water, that’s going to be a big change.”