The Canal and River Trust is urging people to “take action” and “help tackle the global plastics crisis”. Each year 14 million items of plastic end up in canals and rivers in England and Wales, according to a new report. The Canal and River Trust said more than half a million of these items reach the world’s oceans annually. Allegedly the canals and rivers of England and Wales could be plastic-free in a year if every visitor picked up one piece of litter. The trust worked with Coventry University to carry out research for the report. It took a “snapshot” of the number of plastics and litter observed at representative locations along 2,000 miles of waterways and found plastics such as bags, bottles, disposable cups, and food wrappers accounted for 59% of waste. The analysis is based on data from 25 rural and urban locations. The charity spends more than £1m every year to help keep its waterways free of plastics and other litter – money that could be spent in other ways.
The Trust is urging communities to take action on their doorstep to clean up their local neighborhood and to help tackle the global plastic crisis. Visitors and passersby could make their own small contribution to help keep canals clear of plastics, the trust says, whether by picking up and recycling a piece each time they visit, or by joining the Trust’s growing band of volunteers, or even by “adopting” a short stretch of their local canal with friends, neighbors or colleagues. “We know that life is better by water and more people than ever appreciate the benefits of spending time alongside our waterways, right at the heart of thousands of communities across the country,” said Richard Parry, chief executive of Canal & River Trust.