Plastic in our canals

The plastics and litter in our oceans is a global crisis. One that seems out of reach from our own neighbourhoods. But there’s a little way you can make a big difference on your own doorstep.

Take the #PlasticsChallenge 

The next time you visit a waterway near you:

  1. Pick up just one piece of plastic
  2. Take a photo of you with it and share it on FacebookTwitter oInstagram with the hashtag #PlasticsChallenge
  3. Take it home with you and either bin it or recycle it correctly

"If everyone who visited one of our canals or rivers picked up just one piece of plastic, they would be clear within a year"

Peter Birch, national environmental policy adviser

Take a look at our video below to see how easy it is to take the #PlasticsChallenge:

We’re the charity that protects and brings to life 2,000 miles of canals and rivers. But did you know that our wonderful inland waterways also connect with the English Channel the North Sea, Irish Sea and Atlantic through cities such as London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds? Read our Plastics Challenge report to find out what we're already doing, what you can do and what we can do together to help.

We’re glad you care about litter as much as we do

Plastics in our canal facts and figures

Around 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from litter dropped inland. Our research shows that 1,562 items of plastic (bottles, food wrappers, bags etc.) leave one of our canals or rivers and head to the sea every single day. That’s more than 500,000 items each year.

And all that litter and plastics also damages the wildlife that live in and around our waterways and hedgerows. Much of it laying unseen under the surface of the water.

The high cost of keeping the canals clear 

It costs us over £1 million pounds to clear up over 24 million pieces of litter a year. Our amazing volunteers also spend over 100,000 hours of their precious time helping to pick it up when that time could be better spent doing other things.

Here's where you come in

Share because you care

Do you already get involved and care for your local canal? Post your pledges and photos on our Facebook page, on Twitter and on Instagram using #PlasticsChallenge

Report hazardous rubbish

If you see any dangerous or hazardous plastics and litter, please don’t pick it up - report it on 0303 040 4040 or email us telling us what it is and where it is so we can safely remove it as soon as possible.