Fiona Llewellyn—Whether you’re commuting, shopping or sightseeing, touring any city can be a thirsty business.
London is often associated with fog and rain, but anyone who has taken the tube or pounded the pavements in the summer knows it can also be sweltering. Plus, it’s massive. Even if you take a bottle of water with you in the morning, that half a litre may not get you very far. So, what do you do? The go-to solution for the past 20 years or so has been to buy a disposable plastic bottle of water, a decision taken over a billion times a year by residents and visitors to London. That means over a billion disposable plastic water bottles across the city are used every year, the equivalent of 175 per person.
Our solution at the #OneLess campaign is to start a hydration revolution. We’re calling on the people of this most iconic of cities to say no to the most recognisable symbol of ocean plastic pollution – the single-use plastic water bottle.
By now everyone has heard about the explosion of plastic pollution and its impact on the ocean. Videos of suffering sea turtles and whales, images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and harbours clogged up with plastic rubbish have shaken the public consciousness. The revelation that eight million tonnes of plastic is making its way into the ocean every year has horrified people across the world. This amount is the equivalent of the weight of 10 London Eyes every day! But global statistics and pictures of far flung places can feel far removed from our everyday lives and that’s why #OneLess is bringing the battle against plastic down to the street level.
We’re taking a localised, systemic approach to reducing plastic pollution, starting in London. The campaign is hosted by the Zoological Society of London, in partnership with Forum for the Future, The International Programme on the State of the Ocean, and the Thames Estuary Partnership and involves a host of pioneering partners including local councils, museums, venues, shops, cafes, and the Mayor of London.
#OneLess is raising awareness of London as a coastal city, directly linked to the ocean via another icon in this story, the River Thames. The famously meandering river is the heart of the city, and – sadly – the destination of many of its discarded plastic bottles.
Our recent 2019 report, The River Thames: Plastic bottle pollution, highlighted the work we carry out with partners to monitor the number of plastic bottles in the River Thames. Between April 2016 and April 2019, we collected and removed nearly 70,000 single-use plastic bottles from the banks of the River Thames. Nearly 50 per cent of the bottles categorised during our surveys were water bottles. On one single day in 2018, we retrieved 2,500 plastic bottles from the banks of the river.
Read full blog.