Supermarket heap: trolley haul uncovered during South London foreshore clean-up

All in a day’s work: the collected trolleys heaped on the deck of a PLA vessel.

Nearly 70 dumped shopping trolleys have been recovered from the River Thames in one day, according to the Port of London Authority (PLA), putative custodians of the world famous river.

The PLA gathered the “shocking haul” near Thamesmead, South London, according to an 18 July press release, while clearing the foreshore of litter.

“Thanks to the crew of Driftwood III, one of the PLA’s boats which is usually tasked with clearing trees and driftwood along the tidal Thames, the metal mess will be taken away for recycling,” said the release.

PLA marine manager afloat Michael Russell said: “The PLA works very hard to clear rubbish from the river but this incredible find in one pocket of the tidal Thames shows what a mammoth task it is.

“Throwing trolleys into the river is simply reckless, the tide goes out and they get stuck on the foreshore. Dumping huge objects like this threatens wildlife habitats and could cause environmental damage. They also look dreadful and, more importantly, could become be a hazard to the thousands of ships navigating the Thames every year.”

“We annually pull more than 200 tonnes of assorted floating (and non-floating) rubbish from the river, including plastic bottles, traffic cones, bikes and, occasionally, cars.”

“The majority of that waste is gathered by our floating passive debris collectors (PDCs) stationary metal devices dotted at key points along the 95-mile tidal Thames to trap waste. It’s then taken away for processing, either for landfill or recycled at various sites around Kent and London.”