Up the Canal.... with a paddle!

Dealing with the problem of litter could be described like being up a particular creek without a paddle. However I was involved in a recent litter pick where Action Outdoors in Brightons provided the paddles, the canoes and the litter pickers in an attempt to clean up a stretch of the Union Canal. I joined the Hallglen Youth and Environment Group as they collected bottles, bags, a tyre and a golf trolley while getting to grips with steering a canoe and remembering not to lean too far out the boat and risk falling in the water. Being in a kayak instead of a canoe it was easier for me to turn on the water and I was sent to get the litter left behind by the fleet of canoes.

I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the group who had sharp eyes for litter. Teenagers are often seen as caring less about the environment: That difficult age between the enthusiasm of primary school and the responsibility of adulthood. This group of teenagers were great examples to all ages within their community.

Dawna Chisholm from the Hallglen group said “The young people loved getting out on the water and were very competitive with each other, which was great as we ended up with loads of litter some of which was bizarre, ie a car tyre and golf cart. I wish more people thought the way our young people do, I am sure the fish and wildlife were pleased to see their home a bit cleaner.”

Eliot Sedman from Action Outdoors explained that a number of canoe clubs across Britain have a clean up on the water they use regularly. Hopefully this litter pick will become a
regular occurrence and give people like myself, who walk and cycle along the canal regularly, the opportunity to get involved and give something back to the environment we enjoy. I now know a group of young people who would jump at the chance to do it all again. So I will finish with a quote from one of the young people themselves, “this is peachy when are we coming back”.

By Norman Philip

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