The River Thames is one of the world’s most iconic rivers. It's the cultural, financial and historical artery of London, but the amount of litter entering the river is on the rise and it’s travelling from all parts of the city.

300 tonnes of rubbish is cleared from the Thames each year. That’s equivalent to 43 bottlenose whales (the type found in the Thames in 2006)…and that’s not to mention what sinks to the riverbed or what gets washed out to sea.

That’s why we created For Fish’s Sake (#FFSLDN), to encourage London’s residents, commuters and tourists to stem the flow of litter into the River Thames.

Along the river in central London, we highlighted the need to protect and cherish the Thames by asking Londoners to:

  • Use the bin - not the gutter, not the river, not the pavement  
  • If you see some litter and you’re near a bin – pick it up 
  • If the bin is full, find another one or take your litter home.

What type of litter is it?

Small pieces of litter are less likely to make it into a bin but can have devastating effects on the environment e.g. E.g. napkins, till receipts, travel tickets, food wrappers, bottles, cups, lids, disposable crockery, cigarette butts. 74% of litter picked from the Thames is food and drink related.

Where is it coming from?

Some litter gets dropped directly into the river, but much of it comes from land. Our litter travels - from our hand into a drain, a river or even the sea. It’s not all deliberate littering, it might be squeezing litter into overflowing bins, leaving litter next to a bin, placing cups or bottles on ledges, or putting cigarette butts down drains.

Why does it matter?

7 in 10 Londoners think the Thames is too polluted for fish to survive, but actually it’s home to 125 species of fish, as well as other wildlife such as seals, dolphins and even sea horses!

This is a global issue because rivers, seas and oceans are all connected - 80% of ocean plastic comes from land-based sources. Litter in both the river and the ocean is being eaten by and harming birds, fish and other species.

For those who prefer pound signs to porpoises, the Thames is worth £40 billion to the UK economy and provides 140,000 jobs.


The difference made

#FFSLDN ran from May-September 2017 - click here to download the full impact report from the trial. We plan to create a model that will work in any town or city with a waterway.



#FFSLDN is led by Hubbub, supported by the Port of London Authority and backed by a unique coalition of organisations including British Plastics Federation, INCPEN, Natural Hydration Council, St Katharine Docks and Tobacco Manufacturers Association.