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Rivers of plastic: Photographs reveal UK river wildlife habitats invaded by plastic pollution – Greenpeace

A new collection of photographs show iconic British wildlife like otters, voles and kingfishers surrounded by plastic pollution in UK rivers;

Common Kingfisher perched above discarded litter near Deptford Creek, London. © Tomos BrangwynCommon Kingfisher perched above discarded litter near Deptford Creek, London. © Tomos Brangwyn

Greenpeace is carrying out the most thorough survey of plastic in UK rivers to date – testing river water in 13 rivers nationwide and analysing the plastics found with state of the art technology;

Campaigners, scientists, actor Bonnie Wright and 70,000 members of the public are urging the government to set and enforce reduction targets for single-use plastics  

The world has seen the impacts of plastic pollution on our oceans – turtles eating plastic, seabirds feeding plastic to chicks. Now a new collection of photographs published today (Monday 18 March) by Greenpeace UK shows that plastic pollution is also invading the habitats of Britain’s most iconic river wildlife.

The pictures – some of them new, some rarely-seen or previously unpublished – show otters swimming through plastic bottles, voles eating plastic, and swans, moorhens and coots with plastic in their nests.

The images are released as Greenpeace is carrying out the most thorough survey of plastic in UK rivers to date. Campaigners are gathering water samples from 13 rivers across the UK and scientists will be analysing the plastics found using state of the art infrared technology at the University of Exeter.


World's largest study to monitor air quality exposure of 250 children – Kings College London

A new study by King's scientists will monitor air quality exposure of 250 children on their way to school and in the classroom. The announcement was made today at Haimo Primary School in Greenwich by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is funding the study.

Image: Kings College LondonImage: Kings College London

Led by Dr Ben Barratt from the Environmental Research Group at King's, the study will use state-of-the-art toxic air monitoring backpacks developed by Dyson, to help monitor and better understand the levels of toxic air young Londoners are exposed to during their journeys to school and in the classroom.

250 pupils from five London primary schools, situated across five boroughs (Southwark, Richmond, Greenwich, Haringey and Hammersmith and Fulham) will take part in the project, wearing specially adapted backpacks to and from school for a week.

Weighing just over 1kg, the sensors fit into lightweight bags and measure particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels. The children involved will use the backpacks like a normal bag (the monitor takes up one pocket, leaving plenty of room for school equipment), allowing the monitors to record pollutant levels on each child’s journey to school and throughout the school day.

The data from this study will allow King’s scientists to analyse at which point of their journey to school (or which part of their school day) children are exposed to the most pollution. They will also be able to the compare the exposure of children who have similar journeys but take different routes and travel modes and then make recommendations of how children can reduce their exposure in future.


Scientific publications

Termaat, T. et al. Distribution trends of European dragonflies under climate change (open access) Diversity & Distributions DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12913


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