Dhruv Boruah, a former management consultant turned environmental hero is cleaning up the Thames River in London on a floating bicycle. The endeavor, named The Thames Project, is more about striking up conversations with passersby and raising awareness than it is about removing all of the plastic waste from the canals — an impossible feat for the one man show that is Boruah.
The self-constructed rig, made up of a bamboo bicycle with yellow floats on either side, a rudder and a pedal-powered propeller in the front, has retrieved thousands of kilograms of plastic waste since beginning the project in 2017. “It’s a great conversation starter, and then I can tell them about my work, the plastic and how it all starts here in the canals,” he told CNN while on one of his “off-road cycling” missions.
The 35-year-old philanthropist was impassioned by a yacht racing expedition from London to Rio de Janiero that left him thinking a lot about the dangers of plastic pollution. It was on this undertaking that Boruah had learned of the fortunate rescue of two turtles who were tangled in plastic in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. “Plastic is now in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat,” he explained. “You have to care because it’s about you, your health and the health of your children. Why are we destroying this planet for them?”
Boruah’s bicycle nets are often filled with single-use plastic items such as styrofoam containers and water bottles. These get broken down into tiny microplastics over time that not only pollute the oceans, but also affect our air and food. When he is not striking up conversations with curious onlookers, Boruah is working with councils, businesses and communities to educate and encourage them to take action against plastic pollution.