A group of stand up paddle boarders from Southport will journey to Wigan on Sunday 30th September 2018 to clean up the canal with explorer Cal Major.
The group, SUP North, regularly runs clean ups in their local paddling areas in Southport, engaging their members positively in the issue of plastic pollution in the waterways.
With the increasing amount of press currently focussing on plastic pollution, more and more people are looking at ways they can be a part of the solution. This clean up precedes the Surfers Against Sewage and British Canoeing Autumn Beach and River Clean series, which aims for 4-500 clean ups taking place across the country between 20-28th October.
The clean up was instigated by Cal Major, an ocean advocate, explorer and veterinary surgeon who recently set a new world record by becoming the first person to stand up paddleboard the entire length of the UK, from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland; 1000 miles over 59 days. She paddled 750 miles of open ocean and 250 miles of inland waterways - canals and rivers.
During her trip, Cal witnessed heavy pollution in the inland waterways, particularly around built up areas. One of the more noticeably affected areas was Greater Manchester, where the canals run through the city. In one hour of paddling, Cal counted 691 plastic bottles floating in the canal in Wigan.
"I wasn't able to pick them up at the time, but was determined to come back and help clean up the canal, which provides enjoyment to so many people, and life to so many creatures. Growing up in Warrington, the North West is very close to my heart, and I would walk or run along the Bridgewater canal towpath most days.”
According to Cal, 80% of marine litter originates from land based sources, and most of it is single use plastic, used for a matter of minutes. We need to address this if we are to stand a chance of tackling plastic pollution. We need to bring the message inland.
“In the UK we use 38.5 million plastic bottles every single day, and less than half of them are recycled. The simplest way to help prevent this is to choose a reusable water bottle over single use plastic ones, and commit to filling up from the tap.” says Cal. “I encourage everyone to look at the plastic they are using in their everyday lives and reduce it where possible. It’s not a question of feeling guilty about the plastic you are using, but feeling positive about the stuff you avoid.”
The participants will meet at Crook Hall Inn, WN6 8LR at 11am on Sunday 30th September, and clean a stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
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