Hubbub is launching two robot pirate ships in a buccaneering new campaign that will be the largest clean-up of UK’s rivers. An armada of organisations tackling litter, backed by the Coca Cola Foundation, will seek to remove 95 tonnes of litter and prevent a further 90 tonnes from entering seven of the UK’s vital river systems that are home to wide array of wildlife.

Treasure your River will support the thousands of volunteers who freely give up their time to keep our rivers clean. Hubbub will use expertise gained through behaviour change campaigns such as For Fishes Sake and Streets Ahead to provide new resources and techniques that will not only boost clean-up efforts, but stop litter getting to rivers in the first place.

A timely campaign with restrictions lifting and growing concerns about litter

The campaign is launched at a time when there is growing concern about the amount of litter in our public and green spaces which is likely to increase as lockdown restrictions are eased. In 2019, our polling showed that 75% of UK adults wanted to do more to help tackle marine litter, our campaign will help make the connection between litter in our towns and cities and plastic in the oceans, offering people something positive they can do about it.

Treasure Your River will tackle litter in the rivers Avon, Forth, Mersey, Severn, Taff, Thames and Trent and their tributaries with activities concentrated on seven major cities based on these rivers – Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham, which between them are home to 1 in 6 of the UK population.  

Pirate themed activities and eye-catching interventions   

The pirate-themed campaign aims to create a legacy for each river, with an army of regular volunteers, litter-clearing equipment and improved ‘binfrastructure’. Large-scale activities like silent disco clean-ups will be combined with eye-catching interventions to educate the public on how they can make a difference through simple behaviour changes such as two-minute litter picks, litter-free picnics and the responsible disposal of fishing tackle.  

Hubbub will bring a treasure trove of new support to engage local groups, including two ORCA-TECH robot boats decked out like pirate ships that can be controlled from the shore to reach litter that is hard to access along riverbanks. Plastic fishing trips in boats made from 99% recycled plastic will allow people to see first-hand the impact that plastic pollution has on our rivers. Groups will also be given an opportunity to create their own paddleboards from recycled bottles enabling them to get onto the water to pick litter.  

Uniting businesses and organisations through collaboration

As with all Hubbub’s major campaigns, collaboration is at the heart of the approach. The ambition to unite over 80 organisations in the clean-up including businesses, charities, community groups and river users. Partner organisations already on board include  The Angling Trust, The Canal & River Trust, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy, The Mersey Rivers Trust, Sustainable Hive and Thames 21. 

The Rivers Trust is to independently measure the impact of the campaign, using technology such as geotagging of litter reduction activities to create a map of the results of the nation's collective efforts. This will be shared with partners including the Marine Conservation Society to build a wider map of UK litter. 

Join the crew

On the launch of the campaign, Hubbub is issuing a call to businesses, charities, local government and individual volunteers to join the Treasure your River crew. To register your interest please visit the Treasure Your River website or email [email protected] This summer let’s make our rivers booty-ful.