The programme is being led by adventurer and environmentalist Lizzie Carr - aka Lizzie Outside (www.lizzieoutside.co.uk) who recently became the first female in history to solo paddle board across the English Channel. Last year, Lizzie was also the first person to paddle board the 400-mile length of England's inland waterways solo and unsupported to highlight the problem of plastic pollution through her nationwide initiative – Planet Patrol.
We are hosting the project at eight clean-up events across our canal network, including Sheffield, to enable people to help look after their local waterway by either a paddleboard or from the towpath.
Lizzie Carr comments: "Plastic pollution is the single biggest environmental catastrophe affecting our planet today. And the worst part, we're responsible. Plastic is an entirely manmade material so every single piece you see littering the planet is a direct result of our actions.
"This summer I'm staging a series of #PlanetPatrol clean ups across the country – including eight on Canal & River Trust waterways - so there's plenty of opportunity for people to get involved and show their support. There will be an opportunity to try paddle boarding – completely free – all I ask in return is that people join the #PlanetPatrol efforts and collect some of the rubbish encountered.
"During my SUP adventures I found that a lot of the plastic I came across was caught up in reeds away from the towpath so getting on the water and cleaning up by paddle board means accessing pockets of the waterways that might otherwise remain untouched. We'll even dispose of everything you find – I'd just love to have like minded people come along, have fun and do something for the environment whilst getting active."
Chantelle Seaborn, our waterway manager said: "We're really delighted to be supporting Planet Patrol. It's a great way to encourage people to get outside, enjoy their local waterway, while highlighting the problem of plastic pollution. Many people don't realise that it's a charity that looks after their local canal. Rubbish in our waterways is a real issue and costs the Trust approximately £1 million per year."
Anyone can turn up and take part in the clean-up events. However, to get afloat and take part in the paddle boarding, participants must be 16 years or older and register for their hour-long session at https://planetpatrol.co/ There will also be a Marine Bus at each location for children and young people to learn about the environmental impact of plastic pollution in an interactive and engaging way.
The events are also being supported Craghoppers and Red Paddle Co which is supplying the paddle boards at each of the Planet Patrol events.
Visit Planet Patrol for further details about events, including how to register.