A new study by Royal Holloway, University of London has found that three quarters of a species of fish sampled from the River Thames had plastic fibres in their gut.

The study was limited and only looked at two fish species - common flounder and smelt, which were caught around Erith and the Isle of Sheppey.  The flounders are flatfish and feed on the river bed.  Some 75% of them were found to have ingested plastic fibres.

The situation was better for the smelt, which feed in the water column, but 20% of them were still found to have swallowed plastic.  The plastics ingested by both species included nylon, acrylic, cellophane and polythene.

The Port of London Authority, along with several other organisations,  is launching a "Do the Right Thing" campaign to encourage people to make sure people's rubbish is binned properly.  Plastic pollution is not just a problem in areas near the river.  Plastic discarded anywhere across the city, if washed into a drain could end up being discharged into the river.

You can read more about why plastic pollution is an growing problem for all of us by reading the latest issue of our publication, Conservation Education here.

Photo by Kevan

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