Massive mass of used wet wipes has formed ‘island’ that has changed the course of England’s second longest river, MP says

Volunteers work to clear rubbish from the banks of the River Thames, with Hammersmith Bridge in the background.

Volunteers work to clear rubbish from the banks of the River Thames, with Hammersmith Bridge in the background.Matt Dunham/AP

  • A huge mass of wet wipes has formed in the Thames in London, changing the course of the river.

  • The “wet wipe island” is the size of two tennis courts.

  • Ministers urge the public not to flush wet wipes and are considering banning wipes containing plastic.

In the Thames, a “wet wipeout island” the size of two tennis courts has formed, causing the river that flows through London to change course The Times of London.

Ministers have asked people to stop using wet wipes and the government is considering banning those containing plastic.

Fleur Anderson, a Labor MP, warned that wet wipes, when flushed down the drains, do not decompose and instead end up in the Thames, England’s second longest river.

“There’s an island the size of two tennis courts, and I’ve stood and stood on it – it’s near Hammersmith Bridge in the Thames, and it’s three feet deep or more in places where only wet It’s down the Thames,” Anderson during a session asking questions about the environment, food and rural affairs in the House of Commons, per The Times.

Anderson has proposed banning the manufacture and sale of wet wipes containing plastic, The Times reported, noting that it is unlikely to become law without government support.

Most wet wipes are made of plastic, which does not break down when flushed depending on the environment charity Thames21.

In addition, they can break down into microplastics and damage aquatic life and the Thames ecosystem, the charity said.

The charity is urging the government to ban wet wipes containing plastic and calls for regulations to clearly label how wet wipes should be disposed of.

Thames21 documents the plastic waste that washes up on the riverbanks and found that in just under five years, a 1.4 m high (about 55 inches) mound grew and covered the surface of two tennis courts, according to data from Tideway and the PLA.

Wet wipes have been found at these hotspots in densities between 50 and 200 per square metre.

Last year, charity volunteers collected over 27,000 wipes more than two days in a different location next to Battersea Bridge.

Wet wipes also make up almost 90% of the materials in “thick mountains”, that is masses of solid waste made of grease and grease that can clog sewers.

Rebecca Pow, an environment minister, asked members of the public not to flush wipes down the drain when using them, the paper said.

Pow said the government would “come out very soon with some suggestions for what we propose to do”.

Read the original article Business Insider

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