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These photos bring home the shocking scale of plastic pollution in the Thames

By Megan Carnegie

First came the eco-guilt-inducing ‘Blue Planet II’, then the latte levy bid and the microbead ban. It looks like 2018 could be the year we get serious about plastic pollution. But the Thames still carries 18 tons of the stuff into the sea every year, and Getty Images photographer Dan Kitwood’s poignant new project brings that number home.

These ordinary objects are just a few of the bits and pieces he found and photographed (then recycled) on just a 100-metre stretch of the Thames Estuary – an important feeding ground for wading birds and marine life. The playful images reveal a dark reality, he says: ‘Everyday, consumable items find their way from the homes of millions of people to our rivers, seas and coastlines. I hope the pictures make people more aware of the collective difference we could all make.’

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