Scientists uncover hidden river of rubbish flowing through London
A team of scientists has discovered a hidden torrent of rubbish flowing through London after collecting thousands of pieces of plastic submerged along the river bed of the upper Thames Estuary.
The sheer amount of plastic recovered shows there is an unseen stream of trash flowing through the capital which could be a serious threat to aquatic wildlife.
The findings, published online in Marine Pollution Bulletin, highlight the cause for concern, not only for ecosystems around the river but for the North Sea, in to which the Thames flows.
Using nets designed to catch Chinese mitten crabs, scientists from the Royal Holloway, University of London, and the Natural History Museum documented rubbish collected during a three-month trial.
More than 8,000 pieces of plastic were collected, including large numbers of cigarette packaging, food wrappers and cups, but more than a fifth of waste was made up of sanitary products.
Dr Dave Morritt, a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology at Royal Holloway and co-author of the study says: "The unusual aspect of the study is that these nets are originally designed to trap fish and crabs moving along the river bed, so we can see that the majority of this litter is hidden below the surface."
Published date, Jan 5, 2014