At the end of April, over 850 members of staff from Marks & Spencer stores right across the country joined forces with the Canal & River Trust as they headed to their local waterway as part of the retailer’s annual clean-up event.
The M&S teams joined us at over 40 locations and cleared over 56 miles of towpath. The haul included 1,500 bags of rubbish weighing in at an estimated 8,800kg – more than the weight of a full grown African elephant.
Amongst the bottles, cans and wrappers were a leopard-print thong on the Rochdale Canal in Manchester, a Flymo on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Devizes and an angle grinder besides the River Severn in Worcester.
Richard Parry, chief executive at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have worked with all the people at Marks & Spencer who have again helped to clean up the nation’s canals and rivers. Their support is much appreciated.
“Today’s waterways are a haven for people to enjoy and for wildlife to flourish; yet the litter that was collected by the M&S teams can be a blight on these otherwise special local places. By joining forces with the Canal & River Trust, and our own dedicated staff and volunteers, M&S has helped to ensure that our canals and rivers are in a better condition for everyone to enjoy.”
Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer, adds: “This year’s Big Beach Clean-up has been a great success and has made a significant impact within local communities. It has helped tackle the scourge of litter on 95 UK beaches and 45 canals, including locations that were hit by recent storms. The nation’s beaches and canals, and in turn our marine life, need people to look out for them. Our clean-up is a fun activity in which we can help make a difference.”
The M&S Big Beach Clean-up is part of M&S’ Forever Fish campaign which is funded by the profits from the 5p carrier bag charge in M&S foodhalls. Since its introduction in 2008, the charge has reduced carrier bag use by 75 per cent and raised over £6 million for good causes.
To deliver the full programme of inland waterway clean-ups, the Canal & River Trust teamed up with Wears River Trust in Durham, National Trust in Guildford and River Camm Conservators in Cambridge.