‘Help tackle global plastics pollution in your neighbourhood’ Canal & River Trust urges

Water vole and the plastic bottle invading its environment. Picture: Jack Perks

Water vole and the plastic bottle invading its environment. Picture: Jack Perks - Credit: Jack Perks

Plastics now account for almost 60 per cent of all waste found along rivers and canals, shock figures reveal this week.

Yes... even the kitchen sink! What volunteers fished out of the Regent's Canal during a clean-up ope

Yes... even the kitchen sink! What volunteers fished out of the Regent's Canal during a clean-up operation. Picture: Canal & River Trust - Credit: Canal & River Trust

More than half-a-million plastic items reach the open seas every year from Britain's waterways, the Canal & River Trust believes.

It is now appealing for community help in east London to prevent canals like the Regent's, Limehouse Cut and Hertford Cut by Victoria Park becoming choked from waste.

"We're on a mission to eradicate plastics from our waterways," the charity's environmental advisor Peter Birch said.

"It needs people's help if we're to live in better neighbourhoods while tackling a global issue on their doorstep."

Litter trapped behind River Lea weir boom. Picture: Canal & River Trust

Litter trapped behind River Lea weir boom. Picture: Canal & River Trust - Credit: Canal & River Trust


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More than a third of all plastic waste dredged up from canals was found to be wrappers and a quarter found to be bottles, in a survey by the charity. Volunteers clearing the banks also brought up plastic bags and some polystyrene.

"Our canals and rivers can inadvertently act as 'plastics highways' transporting rubbish out to sea," Peter warns.

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"This is devastating for wildlife, despite our waterways being vital 'green corridors'. People taking action locally will be helping tackle a global issue."

The charity has a growing army of Canal & River Trust volunteers regularly clearing up the waterways in special events open to the public to join in.

Volunteers' successful clean-up along Limehouse Cut towpath at Bow Common Bridge. Picture: Canal & R

Volunteers' successful clean-up along Limehouse Cut towpath at Bow Common Bridge. Picture: Canal & River Trust - Credit: Canal & River Trust

It also gets communities to 'adopt' short sections of waterways such as the Limehouse Cut and the Regent's Canal which have their own neighbourhood groups.

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