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Canoeists take to waters of the Wensum to help clean rubbish from river

PUBLISHED: 12:51 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:50 28 September 2019

Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.

Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.

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Volunteers took part in an unusual type of litter pick to clean up a city river - when they took to canoes to remove rubbish from the Wensum's waters.

Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.

To mark World Rivers Day, people paddled out to grab waste which was polluting the river and also gave the banks in the area around Bishop Bridge a good clean up.

Norwich Green Party campaigners joined forces with Canadian canoe hire company Pub and Paddle and charity Rivercare for Saturday's environmentally-focused event.

Nigel Utton, Green Party city councillor, said: "Rivers all over the world face a wide range of threats including from the waste, much of it plastic, which is thrown into urban waterways on a daily basis.

"This waste flows down into our seas and oceans and fuels the global contamination problem that's so damaging to marine life.

Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.

"Only our active involvement in keeping our rivers clean will ensure their well-being for the future.

"Community actions such as these offer opportunities for everyone to help keep our planet clean and healthy."

Pub and Paddle provided the canoes, while Rivercare supplied gloves, litter-grabbers and bags.

The Broads Authority helped by providing its support boat, while free refreshments for those taking part were laid on by The Red Lion pub near Bishop Bridge.

Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.Green Party members and volunteers from the community joined a clean-up of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Neil Didsbury.

They were also joined by members from the GoodGym group - a Norwich group which combines a love of running with community action.

The river clean-up was part of an on-going Norwich Green Party campaign to cut the amount of disposable plastic thrown away and to find alternatives to single-use plastic items.

In August, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned new laws would be needed to stop pollution of the UK's rivers.

Dr Andrew Singer, a senior scientist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology said: "There is no river in the UK that is safe to be swimming in."

But there are success stories. The WWF helped restore the River Nar in Norfolk to good health through a project from 2012 to 2015.

The Environment Agency predicts 74pc of rivers in England and the Scottish and Welsh borders will meet EU expectations by 2027.

But it is currently just 14pc.

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