Paddle Pickup Sets off from the National Waterways Museum

Paddle Pickup Sets off from the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port – Collecting Plastic as they Paddle their Kayaks

When: Monday 28 May 10am

What: In a world first, an all-female team set off from the museum on a 150 mile (240km) long kayak journey to raise awareness of plastic pollution. Their trip between the Canal & River Trust’s two national museums starts in Ellesmere Port and passes the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester on Thursday 14 June before finishing at Sharpness.

The route takes them along inland waterways, where they will have to negotiate100 locks. As they paddle they will pick up plastic litter, and investigate ways of recycling it – from creating jewelry to making
new kayaks.

Where: The National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, South Pier Rd, Ellesmere Port CH65 4FW

Who: Full time adventurer Erin Bastian and conservation manager Clare Osborn will be joined by Chester-based Lucy Ashley and 14 other women along the route.

Why: The issue of plastic pollution is now firmly on the agenda but the team are keen to stress that not all plastic is bad. It is the avoidable plastics that are used in the ‘throw away’ culture that need to be talked about. By making the journey, on kayaks made by Fathoms Free and Palm Equipment from plastic collected from the sea, the team want to highlight the issue.

At the same time they are doing something about it themselves - by picking up plastic in the water around them on the way. In a previous trip (from Bristol to London) they collected over 3,200 pieces of plastic. They anticipate picking up much more on this trip.

Canal & River Trust Head of Museums Graham Boxer explains why this issue is important to the charity:

“Our inland waterways are a source of enjoyable & healthy activities for many thousands of people, whether in boats, walking, cycling, fishing or just being close to nature. But we know from our own experience that sadly, they can also be a dumping ground for unwanted items of all shapes and sizes. I’m sure this expedition will be a shocking eye-opener for how much plastic there is in the water. In showing the scale of the problem we hope we will encourage everyone be part of the solution.”

Erin Bastian adds:

“We’re grateful to the museum for allowing us to start from this point. The waterways have played such an important role in the history of this area and the UK and to see them polluted with plastic tarnishes their legacy. We hope our expedition makes an impact, waterways are funnels transporting out litter into the oceans. Local people are often shocked by how much litter we collect!”

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