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Plastic pollution: Volunteers to take to canoes to clear up River Wensum

PUBLISHED: 14:21 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:09 20 June 2019

Bishop Bridge on the River Wensum. Volunteers are sought to use canoes to help clean up the river. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bishop Bridge on the River Wensum. Volunteers are sought to use canoes to help clean up the river. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Volunteers are sought to join a litter pick with a difference - taking to canoes to help remove rubbish from Norwich’s River Wensum.

A mini freezer among fly-tipping dumped next to the banks of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Ben Price.A mini freezer among fly-tipping dumped next to the banks of the River Wensum in Norwich. Pic: Ben Price.

A number of organisations are joining forces to pull plastic and other waste from the waters of the Wensum, as well as from the banks alongside the river.

It marks the third year that Norwich Green Party campaigners have joined forces with Canadian canoe hire company Pub and Paddle and charity Rivercare for the event.

People will be able to use canoes provided by Pub and Paddle, based at the Red Lion pub in Bishopgate, to paddle out on the water and grab any rubbish they spot.

A recent study by Greenpeace found plastic in every UK river which was tested by the environmental charity.

Green city councillor Nigel Utton. Pic: Norwich Green PartyGreen city councillor Nigel Utton. Pic: Norwich Green Party

The plastic which was found ranged in size from fragments of straws and bottle-tops to tiny microbeads, measuring less than 1mm across.

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Nigel Utton, Green city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, said: "We are all aware of the increasing amounts of plastic being found in even the most remote corners of the world and much of that comes from the waste thrown into streams and rivers in our towns and cities.

"Who would think that a simple crisp packet tossed into a river would contribute to the global contamination problem that's so damaging to marine life?

"A lot can be done at a local level and a community action such as this offers an opportunity for everyone to help keep our planet clean and healthy."

Rivercare, a charity which encourages communities to take pride in their environment and to come together to maintain and enhance it for future generations, is supplying gloves, litter-grabbers and bags.

The Broads Authority will also be involved with its support boar, while free light refreshments will be provided by the Red Lion pub afterwards.

As well as those out on the water, volunteers are sought to clean up river banks.

Ben Price, Green city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, recently reported riverside fly-tipping, including a dumped mini freezer, to the city council and called for strong enforcement.

The clean-up will take place from 10.30am on Saturday (June 22). People should meet at Bishop Bridge. To reserve a place in a canoe contact Peter Cutting via plasticpeter@verrotech.com

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