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Get involved with the Thames river clean up

Residents and community groups across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse are being encouraged to come together in their local communities to help clean up their stretch of the River Thames.

On Sunday 26 September, The River Thames Clean Up will take place across the Thames Valley area and beyond with the aim of cleaning up the river locally and raising awareness of the climate and ecological emergencies.  

Events taking place on the day will help to restore the health of the river, cut down pollution, and protect and enhance the river’s cleanliness, biodiversity and natural setting.    

As well as organising a clean-up, groups are encouraged to have information stalls and talks to raise awareness about issues such as water quality and sewage discharge, community involvement in river care, and how the river can benefit community wellbeing.  

The River Thames Clean Up coincides with World Rivers Day, a celebration of the world’s waterways, highlighting the many values of rivers, increasing public awareness and encouraging us to take better care of them.  It will also mark the end of the Great Big Green Week, a national week of events celebrating action on climate change, including the Oxfordshire Great Big Green Week.

Cllr Jo Robb, River Thames Champion at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “As a council, we prioritise protecting and restoring our natural world and are working with others to improve water quality and water safety.”

“It’s also important that communities can take action where appropriate, and the River Thames Clean Up will be a great opportunity for people along the river to come together and to help improve and maintain this wonderful natural resource.”

Cllr Catherine Webber, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “If you are involved with a local group, or you are simply a community minded person who wants to play your part, please think about organising or getting involved with a clean-up event on 26 September.  There’s lots of advice available on how you to do this safely and effectively.

“We’d also love to hear from people who are organising events, whether that’s on 26 September or at any other time, so we can help spread the word – so please get in touch and let us know.”

How to get involved in the Thames River Clean Up

If you’d like to organise a local event there are a number of organisations that can offer advice and support:

If you need litter picking equipment, our Waste team have a supply they may be able to provide you with on loan – details of how to book this equipment can be found on the South and Vale websites. 

Please note – as a district council we are not able to collect rubbish which is pulled from the river or collected from riverbanks.  Before you carry out a river clean up, you should therefore check with the Environment Agency to confirm how to safely and legally dispose of, or arrange collection of, any rubbish you collect. 

If you are planning to organise your own river clean up, whether it is on World Rivers Day or a different date please let us know – email communications@southandvale.gov.uk.