The London Assembly’s Environment Committee is beginning an investigation into the problem of single-use plastic water bottle waste. At a meeting on 22 February, it will look at the impact of, and alternatives to, plastic bottled water in London. Single-use plastic bottles make up 25 per cent of the floating litter collected in the River Thames.

Plastic is recognised as one of the most significant and growing sources of pollution threatening ocean health. UK consumers alone get through 13 billion disposable plastic bottles per year – equivalent to 200 per person – and only half of these are currently recycled, with the remainder usually ending up in landfill – or littering the environment.

Londoners consume two million plastic bottles of water daily and the Port of London Authority collects around 250 tons of debris and rubbish from the tidal Thames each year, most of which is plastic. While it floats in the Thames or in the ocean, plastic leaches marine-toxic chemicals into the water. Plastic in all its forms is killing marine creatures, poisoning fish and entering the food chain.

Estimates suggest that by 2025 there will be a tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in our oceans.

Last year, London and Whipsnade Zoos made the move to remove all single-use plastic water bottles from their shelves, as part of the #One Less campaign to protect the world’s oceans from the impacts of plastic pollution. Other campaign members include the Thames Estuary Partnership, the Marine Conservation Society and Forum for the Future.