News article created on 6 September 2021

Primary schools to help tackle plastic polution

We're calling on children across Yorkshire to help stop half a million pieces of plastic reaching the ocean with the launch of its School Plastics Challenge.

School Plastics Challenge

We look after 316 miles of canals and rivers across Yorkshire and the North East and, with the help of its network of volunteers, works hard to make its waterways peaceful and attractive places to visit. Yorkshire now has 92 miles of canal which have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag.

Inspiring the next generation

With support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the charity is aiming to get more young people involved and has created new free resources aimed at primary school children, their teachers and families. It includes everything needed to inspire the next generation of environmental heroes.

The six-week School Plastics Challenge programme which links to the national curriculum, guides classes and groups through engaging hands-on activities designed to inform, inspire, and empower learners. There are lots of opportunities to link the project to the curriculum, and actively encourage pupils to get outside and be active.

Providing new resources

Annette Simpson, our education manager, said: “Canal & River Trust wants to work with children through our Learning and Skills programme. We are really pleased funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping to provide new free School Plastics Challenge resources for all groups to get involved and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders.

“Our canals are great on-the-doorstep places for schools and families to enjoy, however the unintended consequence of their growing popularity is that they can be litter highways to the ocean taking 500,000 pieces of carelessly discarded plastic along our waterways and out to sea each year. If every school does their little bit, it can make a huge difference.

“Over 200 schools and groups have already signed up to the School Plastics Challenge across the UK, logging where they plan to litter pick using a new interactive map. So, we urge you to join your fellow schools and groups and sign up to the School Plastics Challenge today, ensuring Yorkshire’s canals and rivers become the cleanest in the UK.’’ 

People’s Postcode Lottery

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I’m delighted funding raised by our players is allowing youngsters all over the country to play a role in stopping plastic and litter pollution and protecting the environment.

“Small individual actions, like picking up one piece of litter, can have a big collective impact when we all get involved so it’s fantastic to hear so many schools have registered to take part in the School Plastics Challenge. We know that being by water makes us feel happier and healthier, so I hope groups enjoy being outside beside their local waterway whilst they take part.

“Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting this project as part of our Postcode Climate Challenge initiative, which is providing 12 charities with an additional £24 million in funding for initiatives tackling climate change this year.”

Canal & River Trust would love to hear from those taking part in the School Plastics Challenge and is encouraging people to share their photos on social media with the #PlasticsChallenge #ActNowForCanals hashtags.