Charity taps into cyber-zeitgeist to clean up Thames

Environmental charity Thames21 is hoping to put the enthusiasm for flash mobbing to good use, persuading people to help clean up the river via the phenomenon.

Flash mobbing is a relatively recent fashion, tied to the growth of social networking sites and easy mobile communication, where a crowd materialises from nowhere, mills around for a while, then evaporates.

Early flash mobs often had no theme or purpose and were almost in the realm of vaguely anarchic performance art but now most will ask those taking part to perform an unusual activity before they disperse.

Thames21 is planning four flash mob clean ups of the river’s shore line in locations across London.

The events will take place between Thursday, August 20 and Sunday, August 23.

The exact times and locations will not be announced until a week before the first event.

The aim of the four days is to help make a cleaner, greener River Thames foreshore and remove as much litter as possible that affect these visible areas. Volunteers will help remove plastic bags, shopping trolleys, food wrappers, bicycles and all manner of other litter items that end up in rivers.

Those volunteering will not only get the chance to make a practical improvement to London’s environment, but also the rare chance to get onto the foreshore, meet like-minded people and get a new perspective on London’s waterways.

“The Cleaner Thames Challenge 2009 will be a real pan-London effort. The four different FLASH MOB locations will give people from all over London an ideal chance to get involved in our work and make a lasting improvement to the environment,” said the charity’s river programmes manager Chris Coode.

All necessary equipment, including wellies, will be provided to volunteers at our clean-up events, just keep tuned to hear the locations when announced on Thursday 13.”

The locations for the flash mobs will be announced via the Thames21 website email newsletter and through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

Those wishing to receive the announcement of the locations should email

Sam Bond

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