Barnes Tidy Towpath Group is formed by locals who are passionate about the environment, the Thames towpath and waterways and organise regular litter picking sessions along the towpath between Hammersmith and Barnes Bridges, which anyone is welcome to join whenever possible. They also work with the local Council, Thames21, the PLA, the BCA and local shops to garner support.

Here is an update sent to SWLEN by the group about what they have been up to:

Using Single-Use Plastic Cups does not stack up

The heat and World Cup have been good reasons for basking in the sun and drinking by the river – all good fun – but when 1000 single-use plastic cups wash up on a tiny patch of our SW13 foreshore in just one tide, it’s no fun. The Plastic Free Barnes & Mortlake Group report that on 19 July, three volunteers from the Barnes Tidy Towpath Group picked up 1000 cups (not a typo) in just two hours at low tide from the foreshore by Small Profits Dock on Lonsdale Road. Accidentally blown into the river, or recklessly dumped?  We will never know how they got there but this serves as a reminder that the seven-metre tide on our tidal Thames sweeps up everything left in its path. Don’t leave litter in or next to an overflowing bin – take it home instead! And could this also serve as a little reminder that we can all start eliminating much of the single-use plastic in our everyday lives?

In another spur of the moment cleanup today, two Barnes Tidy Towpath Group volunteers collected 120 plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans in addition to two big bags of general litter from the towpath between Barnes Bridge and Mortlake. This was largely wilful littering, so we have a long way to go in terms of educating and changing the behaviour of the public.

Visit https://e-voice.org.uk/bttg/ if you’d like to join a mid-August clean up with the Barnes Tidy Towpath Group (barnestidytowpathgroup@gmail.com) and you can get involved in the Plastic Free Barnes & Mortlake Group by emailing lessplasticsw13@gmail.com.