On Saturday we sent out our biggest ever canoe team on all five of our canoes, to collect and remove as much rubbish as they could find from the river and the reedbeds. Our hardworking volunteers worked through the first hot afternoon of the summer to retrieve 14 rubbish bags worth of litter from the Lea.

Picking litter out of a bank of reeds

When we looked at a sample of the rubbish, we found that almost 50% of the items collected were plastic bottles, followed by 21% polystyrene! This may be because plastic bottles are very buoyant and get blown into the reeds easily, but they are also one of the most commonly littered items in the UK, according to Thames21.

14 bags of rubbish collected from the river Lea

Thanks to our volunteers’ hard work we were able to make a big dent in the amount of rubbish that has been trapped in the reeds for years!

volunteers canoeing into reeds next to blocks of flats

Over the next few months we will be doing more regular river based clean-ups so keep an eye out, and if you would like to be put on the mailing list for future water safety training sessions and river clean-up days get in touch!

Find out more about what we do!