Greenpeace activists spend three hours cleaning up local river in Lewisham

What has lots of branches but also flies?

The Ravensbourne River in Ladywell Fields, Lewisham, by the look of these pictures, But no longer.

Greenpeace activists have taken a short break from marching about climate change to clean up the debris-strewn waterway – on their way back from a protest.

Volunteers spent three hours on Saturday clearing a section of the river next to Lewisham Hospital.

The spot was heavily clogged with plastic rubbish, branches and leaves.

The 20-strong activists from Lewisham and Greenwich now hope park users and hospital patients will benefit from their efforts.

Greenpeace organiser Camilla Berens said: “This section of the river runs alongside a seating area for Lewisham Hospital patients.

“Now the patients and park users will have a clear view of a tranquil river and its wildlife rather than a large pile of unpleasant-smelling rubbish.”

The activity was one of thousands organised for World Clean-up Day.

Volunteers logged the different types of plastic they found and the brands that produced the plastic. Topping the list of plastic polluters were bottles from Coke and Pepsi.

The community clean follows Greenpeace’s largest ever survey of plastic pollution in UK rivers.

Scientists and campaigners collected water samples in February and March at separate points along 13 rivers, which were analysed by scientists at the University of Exeter.

Ms Berens said: “Our community clean up provides yet more evidence that big companies need to step up and dramatically cut their use of throwaway plastic packaging. It’s simply not fair to leave residents and local councils to pay to clean up their rubbish.”

Greenpeace is also calling for MPs to sign its plastic-free rivers pledge.

“We’re asking MPs to back a strong Environment Bill and speak out in Parliament on the need to tackle our throwaway plastic problem,” she said.

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