Wildlife minister Huw Irranca-Davies helped to clean up the Thames foreshore near Jubilee Gardens on Thursday to launch a new photographic competition.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Kew's International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition have joined forces to find the first Conservation Volunteering Photographer of the Year.
"I'd encourage anyone to have a go at conservation volunteering – you could be doing anything from clearing a pond, building a dry stone wall or footpath or making a bird house," says Huw Irranca-Davies MP.
"While you're out doing your bit, getting some fresh air and getting active, why not take a photo to capture your experience and enter it into our competition?
"You don't need to be an expert photographer to take part – just take a picture that sums up the fun you had helping to conserve English wildlife or nature."
The minister helped to clean up the South Bank beach just days after a similar clean-up on the same stretch of foreshore by managers from Marriott hotels.
The hotel staff found several curious items including a policeman's wallet, false teeth, a 150-year-old clay pipe, a ring and other items of jewellery.
The competition, which launches Defra's MuckIn4Life campaign, is open to anyone living and undertaking conservation volunteering in England. There are prizes of vouchers to be won in several categories and there will be one overall national winner and one overall under 16 years winner as well as regional winners around the country. Winners will also have their photos displayed in a public exhibition at Kew Gardens.
Entries to the competition can be sent in via the Kew International Garden Photographer of the Year competition and the competition is open until November. Shortlisted entries will be announced around Christmas time and the winning photos will be announced in Spring 2010.