On Tuesday 5 July CHESS hosted a Volunteering day with a team of 30 volunteers from the London office who joined for a day of “Paddle and Pick” with Moo Canoes and Lower Regents Coalition.
We were given a safety briefing over breakfast and then sent off in pairs on canoes to pick litter from the Canal at Hackney Wick. Each person was given a paddle and litter picker – however we all quickly worked out that it was easier if one person paddled and one picked, overwise you sail straight past the litter and can’t stop quick enough!
Just before lunch, John Dunn and Ana Ratz managed a capsize despite the organisers claiming that it was the first in 10 years! Something that John would not recommend, however both were troopers and got back into their boats after drying off and a spot of lunch.
After Lunch some staff picked from the tow path, while everyone else returned to the water.
We were all astounded by how much litter was in such a small section of the river, we were only able to scratch the surface – literally, as the pickers were too short to reach much of the litter from the bottom of the canal but some interesting finds throughout the day included £5, 3 footballs, the hood of a pram, a handbag full of oil which was leaking into the river, a shoe and a skipping rope. You can’t help but think about the stories behind each item and how they ended up in the River. Plus all the usual throwaway items such as cans, coffee cups, lids, bottle tops etc
Considering we were in the heart of London we were all impressed by the beauty of the area and the peacefulness. It felt very rewarding and almost a privilege to be able to do something good and to have had the opportunity to give back to our local community.