School kids say ‘Fantastic! Not Plastic’ as they join celebrity vet for river clean-up

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
(17 Sept 2008) - Dozens of school children have been helping to clean-up the bank of the river Thames by picking up rubbish to help save wildlife from the dangers of plastic and to show their commitment to protecting the marine environment. TV vet Emma Milne showed her support by lending a hand at one of the most littered parts of the Thames, the Isle of Dogs.
More than 60 school children from two schools, George Green School in Tower Hamlets and Abbey Wood School in Greenwich, teamed up with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Thames21. The clean-up is part of IFAW's global initiative - Animal Action Week - which this year aims to raise awareness of the threats plastic bags pose to marine animals and seabirds. Animal Action Week (4-12 October) is the largest animal welfare event of its kind in the world and around 100,000 UK school children take part every year.

"It is vital that we understand the damage plastic can cause to wildlife," said Emma Milne from popular BBC show Vets in Practice. "I am really pleased I was able to take part in such a positive event. I’m delighted that so many young people are interested in protecting the environment as it gives us all hope for the future."

"It is fantastic that two local schools have mucked in to help clean-up this very littered stretch of the river Thames," said Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK "Children are our future and it is vital that we educate the next generation on the difference individuals can make in protecting marine wildlife. Their effort sends out a message for the rest of us to keep plastic out of our rivers and seas."

Debbie Leach, Chief Executive from Thames21, said: "The kids today have made a real difference in ridding this polluted stretch of the river Thames of sacks full of plastic rubbish. We hope that this activity empowers them to get involved with future events and to spread the word that litter is dangerous to the natural environment."

This ‘clean-up’ event is running in 12 countries globally where IFAW operates including South Africa, Australia, Canada, Russia, Germany, and the USA. Through its Animal Action Week activities, IFAW aims to educate more than six million children worldwide about the importance of the marine environment.

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PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS AVAILABLE

BROADCAST INTERVIEWS: Emma Milne, from popular BBC show Vets in Practice is available for interview along with IFAW spokespeople at the Isle of Dogs event. Photographers welcome.

Notes to editors:

IFAW is an international animal welfare and conservation organisation that works to protect wild and domestic animals and to find solutions that benefit both animals and people. With offices in 16? countries around the world, IFAW works to protect whales, elephants, tigers, dogs and cats, seals, and other animals.

IFAW’s Animal Action Week was started in the UK and is now in its 16th year.

Thames21 is an environmental charity working with communities to bring London's waterways to life. Thames21 mobilise thousands of volunteers every year to clean up waterside grot-spots, remove graffiti and create new habitats for wildlife.

Thames21's third Cleaner Thames Challenge will take place from 18 September 2008. This four day river clean-up is based at the Isle of Dogs, East London, and is OPEN TO ALL who want to take part and help remove litter from this badly affected area see http://www.thames21.org.uk/events.html

For a free Animal Action Week education pack please visit www.ifaw.org

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