Between Christmas and New Year, over 21 million visits are made to our canals. If every time someone visited, they picked up just one piece of plastic we would remove all the plastic from our waterways by the time the clock strikes midnight on the New Year.
Pledge your support
If you can't get out and about this winter, you can still join thousands of other people who have already pledged to visit the towpath and collect litter. Join them and make a positive contribution to your local community next time you're taking exercise by the canal.
Our Plastic Challenge campaign is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery through their Postcode Climate Challenge Initiative.
Why should you help?
Each year an estimated 14 million pieces of plastic rubbish end up in and around our canals and rivers, with around 500,000 pieces flowing out into our oceans.
Plastic litter can be dangerous for both people and animals so we urgently need to keep up the fight against plastic. These precious habitats, home to many species of wonderful wildlife are at risk of permanent harm from litter pollution.
During the pandemic our local canals and rivers have been a lifeline for many as a place to exercise, unwind and boost happiness. However, more visitors to the towpath has meant that there has been an increase in the amount of litter on them. Help protect our canal wildlife and their homes before it becomes part of their habitat forever.
It’s the little things we do on our doorstep that can make a world of difference. If everyone who visits one of our canals or rivers picks up just one piece of plastic, they’d be clear within a year.
Get active to fight plastic
It’s not just the environment that benefits from the Plastics Challenge. You can too. Spending time outdoors is associated with reduced levels of stress and anxiety and particularly spending time by water can help you feel happier and improve your mood. Our Plastics Challenge can be a great way to do this.
Try combining a litter pick with your local daily exercise. Whether you are a paddle board pro, reluctant runner, sunrise stroller or wildlife wanderer, by combining one of these activities with a litter pick it can benefit you, the local community and the environment.
Please make sure you stay local and follow government guidance. You can also read through our safety tips to prepare for your visit.
Are you with us?
Many of you have already taken on the Plastics Challenge and shared your stories and photos. We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part so far.
Other ways to support our canals
Thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the Canal & River Trust has recently received support from its Postcode Climate Challenge initiative. This will go to support the charity’s Plastics Challenge and have an impact in helping to reduce plastics in our waterways.