Sit or stand at the edge of the river and something soon becomes clear. There are an awful lot of dogs missing their balls. It’s not just tennis balls which come floating sedately by, but other fancy dog balls. There are often footballs too. Many are the cheap vinyl holiday footballs but there are other, sewn footballs too. There are crisp packets which turn responsively with the faintest of breezes and plastic drinks bottles, with their caps firmly on, navigating the main channel.
Many end up in large garbage patches in the inaccessible reeds on the other side of the river. Most get swept out to sea and will pollute it forever.
Here’s a Common Sandpiper on the shore, working the muddy bank for invertebrates.
Soon, all its food will be full of micro plastics.
As will ours.