Eco-friendly pet products company Beco targeted plastic litter in the longest river in England when it took part in a national campaign, The Great British September Clean.
A crack team of Beco litter-pickers donned protective gear and high-viz jackets to clear up a stretch of the River Thames on Hammersmith Embankment, west London last week and removed sacksful of discarded debris at the end of the expedition.
It was the first time the company had taken part in the campaign, which is run in conjunction with the independent charity, Keep Britain Tidy.
“Before“ and “after“ pictures of the wharf revealed just how much rubbish, including plastic bottles, beers cans, surgical masks, tin cans, punctured footballs, polystyrene cups, empty cigarette packets, discarded coconuts and items of old clothing, had blighted the area.
Due to social distancing and lockdown restrictions, six members of the Beco workforce took part, and they were ably supported by a canine crew of helpers, who proved especially skilled at sniffing out items for removal.
Stretching 215 miles, the Thames is the longest river in England, and the second-longest in the UK, after the River Severn. Its beaches, or embankments, in the capital are especially vulnerable as litter hot-spots due to the density of London’s 9.3 million population and local tides and currents.
'Before' and 'after': The rubbish-strewn wharf (left) before Beco's litter-pickers cleaned up (right).
Beco founder George Bramble brought along his five-year-old black Labrador, Tarka, to help out, Beco director Robert Shaw was supported by his fox red Labrador, Hubie, and marketing coordinator Toby Freeman recruited his spaniel Rufus to the cause.
Rob, (pictured right), brandishing a rubbish sack, said: “We decided as a team we wanted to do our bit for the Great British September Clean and everyone at Beco was keen to join in.
“We headed over to Hammersmith to pick up plastic and litter from the banks of the Thames with the help of our highly enthusiastic canine support crew.
“When we got there, the place really was a sight for sore eyes. But when we’d finished and took a look at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, we were really pleased to have made a difference.“
The scourge of plastic pollution in our oceans and litter, including dog poop littering, has long been a key environmental issue of concern for Beco’s George Bramble and everyone at the company.
“In the past year, we sold Beco toys made from around 1.7 million upcycled plastic bottles. That’s 1.7 million items of plastic litter recycled, not heading for our oceans, not poisoning marine life,” said Bramble.
“We're doing this because we really care about the environment. Since 2009, we’ve been pushing plastic-alternative pet products made from bamboo. At first, people just didn’t appreciate why a non-plastic pet bowl was the better option. Now things have changed.
“Since Sir David Attenborough’s influential documentary series ‘Blue Planet II’ aired in 2017 highlighting the extreme issues of plastic in our oceans, consumer sentiment has changed.”
All the rubbish Beco collected from the Thames during the day was collected on site and disposed of by the environment department of the local authority, Hammersmith and Fulham Council.