The River Kennet is 'facing a new crisis', in the form of disposable vapes.

According to the Action for the River Kennet (ARK) organisation, who went out litter picking in Marlborough this week, 424 pieces of litter were pulled out of the river in one day.

This included anything as big as ‘sold’ house signs to small plastic sweet wrappers, and more than two-thirds of the items found were plastic.

But one of the most common items found to be littering the River Kennet was disposable vapes.

The river protection group pulled 20 vapes from the small stretch of the River Kennet in Marlborough in just one morning.

“Our volunteers are regularly finding carelessly disposed of vapes at the bottom of the river, with a notable increase at stretches of river that are public,” said senior project officer, Anna Forbes.

“Disposable vapes are adding to the plastic pollution crisis in our rivers, and they also contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals.”

Wiltshire Times: Volunteers say disposable vapes are becoming an increasing problem in the River Kennet.Volunteers say disposable vapes are becoming an increasing problem in the River Kennet. (Image: ARK)

The River Kennet is one of only 260 chalk streams in the world and home to many critically endangered species like the European eel.

Most of the river is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), but volunteers fear that sewage and plastic pollution could endanger the creatures who call the river home.

On a national scale, the number of disposable vapes thrown away in the UK has soared from 1.3 million to nearly five million per week – with use amongst children and young people seeing the most dramatic rises.

One reason suggested for this is the lack of awareness about recycling vapes. However, disposable vapes are also incredibly difficult to recycle as they contain lots of components and have to be taken apart by hand for recycling.

Now ARK are calling for a ban on disposable vapes, to protect the health of our young people and our rivers.

“The plastic casings of vapes will blight our rivers for many years before eventually breaking down into micro-plastics, that pollute our rivers posing yet another threat to water quality and the health of aquatic wildlife,” added Anna.

A government consultation on the banning of disposable vapes is open until Wednesday, December 6, and ARK is urging locals to have their say and protect their rivers.