Adhering to local and national guidance, small teams of over 40 club members in total from Lincoln Canoe Club and The Lincoln Rowing Centre spent Sunday (4th October) removing litter from Lincolnshire waterways as part of the national Surfers Against Sewage Summit to Sea campaign which is partnered with British Canoeing.
In a variety of craft from open canoes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and rowing boats, the club members removed over 20 sacks full of plastic pollution and other junk including a Christmas tree, a pushchair and a biker helmet, from the River Witham preventing it from journeying downstream and out towards the coast, causing untold damage. Sadly, a new offender on the list this year appears to be the disposable facemask.
Chantelle Grundy Clear Access Clear Waters Campaigner at Lincoln Canoe Club said;
We have some fantastic waterways in Lincoln which our members enjoy paddling on, particularly in the current circumstances given the benefits of being on the water for our health and wellbeing. However, we also see the litter and junk in these much loved blue spaces and the damage it causes, which is why we partnered up with The Lincoln Rowing Centre and took action, to remove as much plastic pollution as we could and highlight the need for policy change in relation to the use of avoidable single-use plastics.– Chantelle Grundy, Clear Access Clear Waters Campaigner
"We were also supported by another community group ‘Clean Lincoln Everywhere and Now’ C.L.E.A.N, to grow the community effort in Lincoln in the fight against plastic pollution."
Niall Cleary Head of Junior Rowing at The Lincoln Rowing Centre said;
"We are all extremely fortunate to have such beautiful waterways in Lincoln and particularly the River Witham."
It is depressing for all of us to see the huge amount of rubbish, particularly plastics, floating in the water, on riverbanks and in trees and clearly impacting our precious natural world. Lincoln Canoe Club and ourselves speak with one voice to highlight the need for policy change and to tighten up on litter regulations.– Niall Cleary Head of Junior Rowing at The Lincoln Rowing Centre
From paddlesports, to swimming, rowing to angling, more people than ever before are wanting to enjoy rivers for recreation and enjoyment. The Covid-19 crisis has brought this into even sharper focus as we all seek space to be physically active for our own wellbeing. For this reason, the physical health of our nation is inextricably linked to that of the environment around us.
The data captured from the cleanups is essential because it is fed directly into government to highlight the issue of plastic pollution and evidence the need for policy change.