Protecting Our Waterways: How Can You Help?

If like us, you love getting outside – whether you walk, run, climb, camp or cycle – you’ll know how important it is that we look after our planet so that the environments we love to explore will be there for generations to come. But we’re not just talking about dry land. Some 70% of our planet is covered in water, and if we want to protect the natural world, we need to protect our oceans, rivers, lakes and waterways too. 

Our friends at British Canoeing spend more time on the water than most and for them, the outdoors without waterways isn’t the outdoors at all. Even if you don’t spend much time on the water, so many of the beautiful outdoor spaces we know, love and explore rely on the resource of water to keep them thriving, and plenty of us admire water-filled landscapes as part our adventures on dry land. So, what can we do to help protect them? 


One of the best ways you can help is to become a champion of your local waterways and organise a ‘paddle clean-up’. As part of their ‘Clear Access, Clear Waters’ campaign - which calls for fair, shared and sustainable open access on water for all - British Canoeing are encouraging people to keep their local river, lake or canal tidy so that we can all continue to enjoy these beautiful landscapes. 


Here’s how you can get involved:


• Gather friends or family and plan a clean-up. It doesn’t have to be anything big and fancy, as long as you’re cleaning up, that’s all that matters.


• Think about equipment. Gloves, bags and hand sanitisers are essential. You might even think about a litter picker too. 


• Plan a date and time to meet. Remember you don’t all need to be ON the water. There is usually plenty of litter on the banks too.


• Let your local MP know what you’ve been up to, or better still, invite them to join you! 

If you’re keen to get started and help clean up your local waterways, why not visit the British Canoeing to find out more about the campaign and to download your free Paddle Clean-up toolkit? There’s plenty of advice, hints and tips to get you started as well as inspiration from other outdoor and water lovers who are doing their bit to protect our waterways. 



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