You can’t get away from all the talk about plastic pollution in the news right now. From mainstream to social media, there is a lot of noise around plastics in our waterways and how this affects our eco-system and beyond.
One way you can do your bit for the environment as a paddler, is to take part in or organise a river clean up with your friends. To help you get started, we’ve put together a little ticklist of things you need to think about.
Things to think about when organising a river clean up
- Date, time and location. Where and when will your clean up take place? If you don’t want it to be a ‘one-off,’ you could ‘adopt’ a section of waterway you paddle regularly. Make it a monthly thing, gather your friends or club members and look after the section you use. If everyone does the same thing, we’ve got it covered!
- Make sure you’ve got access or permission for the waterway. If it’s a regular paddle spot, chances are you’ll already have the permissions in place to paddle there. If you’re paddling outside of your club, make sure everyone has insurance and/or British Canoeing membership. Don’t forget, there’s no reason why people can’t help clean from the towpath if they can’t clean up from the water!
- Get the gear. You’ll need gloves, pickers, eco-bags to collect the litter (or a box for SUP’s), hand sanitiser, first aid kit, sharps box. Plus anything else you might need safety wise like buoyancy aids, etc.
- Arrange disposal of your litter. This option might depend on what and where you are cleaning. It depends how big you plan your clean up being, or what you plan on finding… there can be some surprising items in the waterways! Contact your local recycling centre or arrange to use on site refuse bins where available to ensue safe disposal of your load. You don’t need to go overboard though. Your pickup could just be you, some friends and a plastic bag, filling it and putting it in the bin at the end. Just do what you feel comfortable doing.
- Do your clean up, enjoy it, and check, clean, dry! Remember to wash down all your boats thoroughly after your paddle.