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Lincolnshire based canoe clubs and environmental groups join the Million Mile Clean

On Saturday 22 May community organisations across Lincolnshire joined forces to remove plastic pollution and junk from the county’s green spaces and waterways as part of the national Surfers Against Sewage campaign Million Mile Clean.

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The environmental enthusiasts paddled and walked in targeted areas across the county removing litter and plastic pollution on the way to highlight the scale of the problem and the urgency for policy change on avoidable single-use plastics. Shockingly every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. 

The groups removed over 35 large sacks of litter in a single day, in a campaign involving over 75 volunteers.  Nine organisations took part: including Lincoln Canoe Club, Slea Paddlers, Lincolnshire Climate Conscious Students and Lincolnshire Plastic Free Towns.

The paddle clean-ups showed the most common item ending up in our waterways is the single-use plastic drinks bottle and drinks cans. This is not surprising given that across the UK, consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, 9 billion drinks cans and 5 billion glass bottles a year (DEFRA).

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Theo Griffiths, Lincolnshire Climate Conscious Student’s group coordinator, said: 

It’s absolutely amazing to see all of these organisations have teamed up to point out how much of an issue this, and to help clean up our streets, greenspaces and waterways. It was an absolutely fantastic event, proving how much of an issue it was.

– Theo Griffiths, group coordinator, Lincolnshire Climate Conscious Students

Chantelle Grundy, Clear Access Clear Waters Champion at Lincoln Canoe Club said ‘It was great to see so many community groups coming together with a shared voice to really amplify the issue of plastic-pollution.

We have some fantastic waterways in Lincoln which are enjoyed greatly by our members, sadly we also see the real day to day problems plastic pollution and junk are causing to wildlife. However single-use plastic also has a significant carbon footprint which contributes to the climate crisis. Coming together as a community has been really humbling and given a clear message to our community leaders that policy change is urgently needed to protect the places we paddle and love.’

– ​Chantelle Grundy, Lincoln Canoe Club Clear Access Clear Waters Champion
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Roberta Bray, Plastic Free Sleaford, states ‘It was an amazing experience knowing we were part of something much bigger and rewarding knowing how much litter we've stopped from ending up in waterways and ultimately the sea. It's a great way to meet new like-minded people, creating a wonderful sense of community which ultimately is what our campaign is.’

The County wide cleanup also saw some great press coverage including from the local BBC, which you can view here

To take action on single-use plastic pollution in your area:

  • Organise a paddle cleanup, check out our helpful toolkit here
  • Check out DEFRA’s consultation on the introduction of a deposit return scheme here (essentially renting a bottle/can) in England Wales and Northern Ireland. Note: Closing date 4th June 2021.
  • Check out DEFRA’s consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging here. Note: Closing date 4th June 2021.

Have you taken part in a clean up recently? Make sure you register it on the website so we can shout about the brilliant work paddlers to do protect our waterways. 

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