After being unable to host clean events during the pandemic, Life’s a Beach teamed up with Adventure Bike Hire, Printwaste and volunteers from ProCook to clean the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal.
The Gloucester Sharpness Canal stretches for 16 miles, dotted by bridges and absolutely alive with flora and fauna.
Armed with litter pickers and paddles, volunteers walked, canoed and paddle boarded to make sure as much litter was collected as possible. We were fortunate to have use of canoes, donated to us for the day by Slimbridge Adventure Bike Hire. We began our clean at Slimbridge, the location of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, where thousands of migrant birds visit every year. We worked our way up to Saul Junction, making our journey a 10 mile round trip.
In the ten miles we covered, we collected kilos and kilos of waste. Being in the water allowed us to get to the hard to reach areas that would have been inaccessible from land.
We found an odd assortment of litter, on top of the things we expected to find, such as packets, bottles and such, we also found light bulbs, carpet, shoes, and more. Together 15kg of waste was taken out of the water, making our waterways a little cleaner for the people who enjoy the canal and the animals who live there.
The 15 kilos we collected was classified as general waste due to the high contamination levels as a consequence of poor disposal. This meant that Printwaste had to treat the collected material by sending it off to an incineration plant where it was turned into electricity – formally known as Waste-to-Energy. This is the next best option after recycling and avoids landfill. Our 15 kilos of collected waste produced 9.375 kWh of electricity, enough to make 750 cups of tea or coffee.
This was an amazing achievement and Life’s a Beach is very grateful to the volunteers from ProCook who gave their time; Printwaste who litter picked and took away the waste we collected; and Adventure Bike Hire, who gave us the canoes to help us access hard to reach litter.