Reducing litter and plastics in Putney

This morning, Positively Putney, Hubbub and Wandsworth Council held a collaborative meeting with local groups and organisations including Thames 21, Putney Society, British Rowing, Wetherspoons, Putney SW15, The Natural History Museum, Royal Holloway University, Go Ahead London, London Youth Rowing, Great River Race, South West London Environment Network and many more. The meeting was to discuss ways to change the behaviour of people who drop litter, especially near the River Thames.

Hubbub Foundation are a charity that create environmental campaigns with a difference. They design playful campaigns that inspire people to make healthier, greener lifestyle choices, which more often than not help save money and bring people together- which will certainly benefit Putney, the river and surrounding areas. Following the discussions this morning, Hubbub will be putting together a campaign to be launched later this month.

However, it is not only adults looking into these current issues. At Hotham Primary School this term, Year 5 students have been raising awareness about the huge plastic problem, as reported by a young journalist below.

‘There are thousands of reasons why plastic is horribly bad and is destroying our world. Did you know that most plastics see more of the world than most humans? This cheap and convenient material is carried all over the world and ends up in huge currents that carry tons of plastic around the world. This is then eaten by animals and fish, which can ultimately kill them. Also, plastic has a massive life span as it can take up to two thousand years to fully bio-degrade. Believe it or not but the smaller plastic comes the more dangerous it is because marine life that live in the water only have to open their mouths to eat it. Mrs David, a Hotham staff member and Putney resident said, “I’m very worried about this problem.”

In order to get some real-life facts, the Year 5 children went down to six cafes in Putney to see how they were doing with their ecological footprint. The classes went out to fill in a survey all about how green each café was. A Hotham student said, “It’s great to see that some cafes are selling reusable cups and give china mugs to people who sit in.” Amazingly, most of the cafes said that will or already do give discounts for their green customers who bring a reusable cup. Hopefully this will encourage more people to be more eco-friendly. However, there are still many disposable coffee cups used every day in the cafes and coffee shops in Putney so there is much work to do.

Later on in the term the two classes went on a trip to Western Riverside Waste Authority to see what happens to Putney’s waste after it is thrown away. Once the pupils came back to school they were eager to see what Hotham throw away each day. Year 5 carried out a Bin Detectives workshop with Western Riverside to weigh the different types of waste in the bins after an average day. Luckily enough they weren’t that bad but they did learn that shredded paper and ‘crunchy’ plastic wrapping cannot be recycled. Did you know that an average school can save approximately 400 trees per year if they properly recycle their waste paper? “I was amazed to see that the staff room and some class rooms had some rubbish in the wrong bins,” commented a Hotham pupil. Year 5 are keen to spread the word about which items can be recycled.

Throughout this term, Year 5 has been continuing to research the plastic problem. The two classes hope to make a dent in this convenient material which floods into our oceans, lakes, rivers and seas. On the 10th July, Year 5 will be running a campaign stall in Putney Exchange to encourage people to use less plastic. Come and visit the stall and hear about our project and how you can reduce your plastic use. All in all, Year 5 have found that if we are to defeat plastic all of us must make a change.’

By OM, Class 5P, Hotham Primary School

If you would like more information about Pristine Putney and what the BID have done so far to make Putney a cleaner and safer place for residents, visitors and employees, please click here.

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