Anyone who takes the time to pick up trash in an effort to improve the environment should definitely be applauded, but is that kind of activity really newsworthy anymore? Well, if you do it from a bicycle on the Thames River in the UK it is!
Dhruv Boruah, a former businessman from Westminster, has spent the last year paddling the Thames River on his floating bike. He’s made the most of his aquatic bike rides by also cleaning up garbage from the river bed using a handheld “grabber.” In that time, Boruah has managed to clear nearly 800 pounds of litter from the riverways. His actions have grabbed the attention of other citizens, who have joined in his efforts using their own small boats and Stand-up Paddleboards. They’ve removed everything from disposable cups and condiment packets to car tires and safety cones.
Boruah was a management consultant when he competed in a yacht race that was set to begin in London and end in Rio de Janeiro. That’s when he saw just how bad the plastic pollution was along the Thames and he decided to do something about it. He ditched his corporate job and founded The Thames Project.
The bike he uses to pedal the river is a mountain bike made of bamboo, rigged to two floating pontoons. The wheels of the bike act as both a propeller and a rudder. Obviously, seeing a man riding a bike down a river is a pretty good conversation-starter, so Boruah uses his chats with interested observers to help spread the word about plastic pollution along the river and the efforts that can be made to clean it up.
In addition to the 800 pounds of litter he’s removed, Dhruv Boruah has also peddled more than 300 miles along the Thames and nearby canals. That’s given him plenty of opportunities to see the effects of plastic pollution. Poor water quality for marine life is an obvious issue, but much of the litter, like Styrofoam cups, break down into smaller pieces, which the ducks in the area mistake for food, causing obvious hazards.
As his project gains more attention and support, Boruah hopes to initiate a project by which divers can explore the bottom of the Thames and gather more data and evidence to support more intense conservation efforts.