On Thursday this week we had arranged to help SeaLife with a canal clean-up near to the Trafford Centre, where they are based. They do these monthly, as well as beach cleans, and since we are exhibiting there in a few months, we thought we’d collect a few materials while we were at it. You might be wondering what a canal clean has got to do with the SeaLife centre, but the fact is lots of litter in the sea has travelled down our waterways from inland.
Josh gave us all high vis vests, litter grabbers, gloves and bin bags and off we went. The stretch of water was the Bridgewater Canal which connects Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh and runs right past the Trafford Centre! So, as you can imagine, the litter around this stretch was pretty gross. As you wandered off the towpath and down into a ditch, it was practically bursting at the seams with rubbish.
Josh said that the council had plans to revamp this area of the canal pathway and plant an array of trees there, but unfortunately I don’t think this will stop the littering completely. It actually amazed me that so much rubbish had got stuck behind the face because someone would really have to go out of their way to put it there. Amongst the pile, the worse offenders had to be cans – beer, coke, cider, children’s drinks, that sort of thing. Some of them had broken down and were floating in the canal itself all rusty.
Of course, in a weird way you hope to find something really strange when you are picking up litter and we knew that this was very possible. I don’t have photos of everything but there was half a bike, a mattress, a clamp for scaffolding, a shopping cart and an oven. I couldn’t help but think the oven was off a canal barge, perhaps thrown off as a new one was fitted. Sad if true, as these are the people who use the canals everyday.
Me and Niamh walked to the first bridge which was where we found the scaffold clamp. After this we went back at the start and gathered all of our bin bags collectively. I’d already decided I wouldn’t be using the stuff for my project, it was just too disgusting (and mainly cans), but SeaLife were recycling anything we didn’t want anyway. We all just got stuck in which was good and I’m pretty sure SeaLife will be advertising the cleanup to their visitors. Hopefully the message to stop littering and fly-tipping in this way reaches the right people.