Plastic litter is a major problem for any environment and the Thames is no exception. Larger pieces of plastic are being continuously rolled backwards and forwards by the estuary’s tidal movements and are broken down into smaller and smaller microplastic fragments that are easily ingested by birds, fish and smaller species such as crabs. To tackle this problem of litter on the Thames, the Thames Estuary Partnership has set up the Litter Forum.


The litter forum meets quarterly. Litter and Thames organisations, university researchers and relevant authorities are part of the forum to maximise the work already undertaken by individual organisations and networks. The focus of the forum is on protecting flora and fauna, developing a Thames specific network and setting up an evidence group facilitating foreshore and water column research.


#OneLess for London

A new campaign to tackle the rising tide of single-use plastic water bottles. London alone drinks 2 million plastic bottles of water daily. TEP is working with partner organisations to make London plastic bottle free. Read more about the campaign here.

The Cleaner Thames campaign

The PLA is running the Cleaner Thames campaign to motivate Londoners to put their rubbish in the bin, not in the River Thames. In this video, Campaign spokesman Paul Rose visits Royal Holloway, University of London, to speak with researchers who have found that 77% of smelt have plastic in their bellies.

Marine Litter Action Network (MLAN)

This is UK wide aiming to bridge the gaps between NGOs, retailers and business. MLAN has agreed 10 initial actions which are currently being worked on. A briefing paper and action list will be disseminated in due course. Part of the work will look at existing evidence and any gaps with links to academia. MCS is the secretariat and will ensure close ties between MLAN and the Thames Litter Forum. MLAN 2016 Report

Your Tidal Thames

Catchment Plan incorporates action on Thames litter via Thames21 events.

The forum provides opportunities to:​

  • Share issues and challenges related to inherited litter on the Thames.

  • Share information, lessons learnt, case studies and best practices.

  • Bridge the knowledge gap through research, citizen science, collaborative work and engaging with regulators, local authorities, and others interested parties.

  • Provide a collaborative environment to promote actions towards reducing litter on the Thames and maximise funding opportunities.

  • To have a membership that reflects the full life cycle of rubbish articles from production to user through to waste, recycling and litter (i.e. production and manufacture though to the user and remover which encompasses land based sources through the Thames to the sea).

Thames Estuary Partnership

University College London
Office for the Vice-Provost (Research)
Room 117
26 Bedford Way 
London, WC1H 0AP
United Kingdom

Tel: 020 7679 8855


Become a TEP Member

Become a member today and influence the future of the Thames Estuary. Whether your interest is leisure, environmental, commercial or developments planned for the river – TEP membership can offer you the opportunity to meet with key influencers in the Thames Estuary.

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The Thames Estuary Partnership is both a Company Limited by Guarantee (no. 3807387) and a registered charity (no. 1083199).

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