In England, the problem of plastic pollution has just been taken on by an enterprising … mermaid. Lindsey Cole, “The Urban Mermaid,” is going to swim 200 miles down the River Thames in her unique mermaid costume in an effort to raise awareness about the issue of single-use plastics and their effect on the environment. The activist will begin her journey at The Riverside Inn in Lechlade on November 2nd, and she aims to swim to Teddington Lock, a couple hundred miles away.

During her swim, Cole will be collecting plastic she finds on her way to show how “we’re choking our mermaids and creatures in our waters,” Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard reports. The plastic pieces she is going to encounter will not be few and far between – the river, like most waterways, is now polluted with large quantities of plastic waste dangerous to marine animals. It was recently found that a significant number of fish and shrimp in the Thames Estuary already have plastic in their intestines.


Cole’s support boat will be manned by artist Barbara de Moubray, who will be in charge of another part of the project, a large mermaid sculpture made out of plastic bottles pulled behind the boat. Along the way, the pair will be asking passersby to pick up litter found along the river and put it into the mermaid sculpture. This way, by the time they reach London, the sculpture will also be a representation of how much plastic ends up in the Thames.

“In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic, in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic,” Cole said. “The Urban Mermaid is a collaborative project and is supporting other eco warriors who already run initiatives.”

During the month of November, Cole and de Moubray will also be visiting schools along the river and talking to students about the plastic pollution issue as well as educating them on what alternatives to plastic are now available.

Around 85 percent of the plastic we throw away is never recycled, and over 8.8 million tons of plastic are finally dumped into the oceans every year. To find out how you can be part of the change by using less disposable plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!


Image source: Lindsey Cole/Instagram