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Bonnie Wright: our rivers, plastic and why it’s time to change course

Posted by Bonnie Wright - 16th May 2019

My name is Bonnie Wright, I’ve been on film sets most of my life, from playing Ginny Weasley in Harry Potter to directing my own work. It’s taken me to places I’ll never forget – and so has the work I’ve done with Greenpeace.


Last year, I was off the coast of the US on board The Arctic Sunrise. Earlier this year I was in a much more British setting – on a small boat on the River Wye. I was there to join Greenpeace as they carry out the largest ever survey of plastic in the UK’s inland waters. I’ve seen the impact of plastic on our oceans first hand, now it’s time to look closer to home, to our rivers.

The UK’s rivers are a source of life for otters, freshwater fish and birds like kingfishers but there is growing concern they are becoming plastic waterways pumping pollution through our towns and villages and into our oceans.

Actress and director Bonnie Wright, known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, passes the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise as she rides in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) launched from the Sunrise. Wright joined Greenpeace onboard the Arctic Sunrise to help highlight the urgent threat of ocean plastics.

When I went camping as a child in Cornwall and Wales I remember swimming in streams and rivers, we used to build little pools by creating dams with rocks. It saddens me to think future generations could be handed plastic filled waterways if we don’t urge the government to take strong action to protect them.

Our rivers are showing warning signs, last year researchers found up to half a million plastic particles per square metre in the River Tame in Manchester,[1] and now early results from a study show plastic finding its way into our most iconic rivers and lakes.[2]

Hollywood film star Bonnie Wright joins scientists and campaigners to investigate plastic pollution in the river Wye. They are collecting macro and microplastic samples from three different points along the Wye using a filtering device called a manta net.

On the 19th of June we’ll have the results for the tests we have done across the UK, so soon we’ll know just how bad the problem of plastic in our rivers really is but we can’t wait for that. Warm words are not enough. The government needs to show it’s serious about protecting our natural world.


To protect our rivers we need government to back an Environment Bill that massively reduces throwaway plastic and restores our natural world. Click here and add your name.


I’ll keep doing what I can every day – but until government and big companies play their part we won’t see real change for our planet.


[1] Microplastic pollution in oceans is far worse than feared, say scientists, Guardian

[2] Britain’s iconic lakes and rivers polluted with plastic, study reveals, Independent

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