Trust's plastics challenge

A coot nests amongst plastic waste Photo: Mark C Baker A coot nests amongst plastic waste Photo: Mark C Baker

The Canal & River Trust is urging each visitor to its 2,000 miles of inland waterways to pick up and recycle one piece of litter in an attempt to prevent more than half a million plastic items reaching our oceans.

14 million

In a report produced in tandem with Coventry University, the charity estimates that its canals and rivers hold 14 million items of plastic, 570,000 of which reach the world’s oceans each year. If every one of the four million people who visit every two weeks took and recycled one piece of litter, the inland waterways would be plastic-free within a year.

Peter Birch, national environmental policy advisor at Canal & River Trust, said that by taking a little care, everyone can have beauty on their doorstep. “The trust is on a mission to eradicate plastics from our vast network of canals and rivers, helping us all to live in better, more beautiful neighbourhoods, whilst tackling a global issue and making life better by water,” he said.

Plastics Challenge

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has pledged its support to the Canal & River Trust’s ‘Plastics Challenge’, stating it is ‘shocked’ by the figures. The IWA runs more than 250 canal clean-up work parties and through its Gaptracker Campaign, is calling for better rubbish collection and recycling facilities along the waterways.

Alongside removing one piece of plastic, the trust is also urging visitors to join its band of volunteers or even adopt a short stretch of local canal.

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