Biggleswade canoe club members help clean up River Ouse

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A group of canoeists from Baldock and District Canoe Club, including paddlers from Biggleswade, spent a morning removing plastic pollution and junk from the River Ouse.

The environmental enthusiasts paddled from Priory Country Park near Cardington and headed along the River Ouse towards Bedford, collecting litter along the way as part of Paddle UK's Big Paddle Clean up.

In a variety of craft from open canoes to kayaks, the aim was to remove as much litter as they could, before it travelled downstream and out towards the coast.

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The volunteers removed over two large sacks full of plastic pollution, with the usual suspects including plastic water bottles, plastic bags, drinks cans and fast-food packaging, along with some rather unusual items including a shoe and a fire extinguisher!

Members with some of the litter collectedMembers with some of the litter collected
Members with some of the litter collected

Club chairman Martin Home said: “It was great to be involved in something that will not only make a difference to our local wildlife, but will also make the rivers more pleasant for our local community.”

River clean ups are vital to the health of our rivers. They help to stop plastics and other junk journeying along our rivers and reaching our oceans causing untold damage. The plastic does not biodegrade, instead it breaks down into smaller pieces which stay in our environment forever and at this stage it becomes impossible to remove. Fish and other creatures then mistake the plastic particles for food, eat it; plastic is then in our food chain. The impact on human health is unknown. Birds and other wildlife can also become entangled often leading to death.

Chantelle Grundy, Access and Environment Officer at Paddle UK, said: “The paddle cleanup highlights the amazing work paddlers do on a regular basis to deal to help with this environmental crisis. It supports our vision for fair, shared and sustainable open access on water, as well as our commitment to protecting the environment’.

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Paddle UK launched its Access and Environment Charter, Clear Access, Clear Waters, in 2018 championing the case for fair shared sustainable open access to inland waterways. As part of the Clear Access, Clear Waters campaign, Paddle UK is pledging to continue to protect and improve the health of our rivers, addressing plastic in our waterways and highlighting the positive impact accessing our waterways can have for the environment.

If you are interested in joining Baldock and District Canoe Club or would like more information about what we do, please see the website: