A huge increase in wet wipes flushed down London’s loos has become a major threat to wildlife in the Thames, conservationists have warned.
Recent findings show the foreshore has the most recorded amount of discarded wet wipes in Britain, which are not biodegradable.
Wet wipes can cause the shape of a river bed to change, clogging together with twigs and mud to form mounds on the inside of bends where the water moves more slowly.
On Saturday 1st April, The Big Wet Wipe Count carried out its third annual survey. Volunteers combed the beach near Hammersmith Bridge at low tide between 11am and 2pm and recorded how many wet wipes they found during the search. Details on how many were picked up are yet to be released, but a previous survey found 150 wet wipes were found in a single square metre of Thames foreshore.
Wet wipes also cause pipe blockages and contribute to fat bergs, while millions end up in the river where they take a number of years to break down.
The Thames already struggles during heavy rainfall because of its Victorian sewers overflow into the Thames a fault that the new Thames Tideway Tunnel is designed to solve.
Matthew Southgate from London Drainage Facilities said:
Wet wipes are one of the most common obstructions within pipework. London Drainage will be on hand if the need for our services ever arises.
London Drainage Facilities (LDF) offers a 24/7 emergency callout service for drain repairs, flood clearances and blockages. Using advanced technology, the experts at LDF can provide fast and efficient solutions to clients throughout London and the South East. For more information, please call Matthew Southgate on 0800 612 2179.
Press Contact: Matthew Southgate
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