London Marathon leaves 20 tonnes of litter for Tower Hamlets sweepers

It takes a lot of bottle for East End's road sweepers to clear up after the London Marathon

It takes a lot of bottle for East End's road sweepers to clear up after the London Marathon - Credit: LBTH

London Marathon runners left 20 tonnes of litter on the route through the East End for road sweepers to clear — roughly two tonnes for each mile. 

The 40,000 taking part dropped 100,000 disposable water bottles for Tower Hamlets Council’s army of 70 sweepers to pick up.

Mayor John Biggs, broom in hand, making a clean sweep of things

Mayor John Biggs, broom in hand, making a clean sweep of things - Credit: LBTH

At one point mayor John Biggs joined the authority’s 10-hour “tidy up”.

“It’s important to get the clean-up right,” he said. “But it was good joining our street cleansing teams to help out.” 

The marathon from Greenwich to The Mall traditionally goes through Tower Hamlets more than any other London borough, which includes 10 of the 26.2 miles from the iconic Tower Bridge, looping round Canary Wharf and back to Tower Hill.   


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In an effort to reduce touchpoints because of Covid, runners this year were encouraged to wear bottle belts to carry drinks.

Marathon runners have raised more than £1 billion for good causes over the past 40 years, a fact which helped soften the blow of having to clean up copious amounts of throw-away containers.

At the end of the day... road sweepers clearing 20 tonnes of litter after London Marathon

At the end of the day... road sweepers clearing 20 tonnes of litter after London Marathon - Credit: LBTH

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