Campaign to rid Wigan canals of plastic rubbish to boost environment

Plastic caught in a moorhen's nestPlastic caught in a moorhen's nest
Plastic caught in a moorhen's nest
Every autumn, Wigan’s waterways are transformed into spectacular corridors of red and gold, as the turning leaves are reflected in the water.

While they are great spots for a selfie, the Canal and River Trust is encouraging people in the borough to pick up a piece of plastic as they pose for their perfect picture.

Other news: Wigan councillor says police have not returned his possessions which were seized during marathon investigationAs the waterways and wellbeing charity that looks after 400 miles of canals in North West, the Trust knows how important water is to the nation’s physical and mental health.

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However, 80 per cent of plastics in the oceans comes from inland, and the Trust’s research shows that 500,000 pieces of plastic end up in the sea from inland waterways every year.

The Trust is calling on waterway lovers to take action and make a difference.

If every person who visited their local canal picked up a piece of rubbish and took it away with them, the waterways could be plastic-free in a year.

This autumn the Trust wants people in Greater Manchester to take on the Plastics Challenge and help make a difference to the health of the waterways:

Pick up just one piece of plastic;

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Take a photo with it and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #PlasticsChallenge;

Take it home with and either bin it or recycle it correctly.

Greater Manchester is full of great spots to enjoy the changing season and take some great photos.

While every stretch of waterway has its charms, these places offer some particularly spectacular scenery: Little Lever, Chadderton, Marple Lock Flight, Stalybridge and Uppermill.

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Closer to home is the spectacular flight of locks between New Springs and Ince and the waterway as it threads its way through Haigh Woodland Park is particularly scenic.

Daniel Greenhalgh regional director at the Trust, said: “Autumn is one of the loveliest times to visit the canals, as the turning leaves transform them into glorious corridors of orange, brown, red and gold.

“But sometimes the rustle of fallen leaves is actually the sound of a discarded crisp packet or a piece of plastic.

“We want people in Greater Manchester to join us in taking action on plastic pollution.

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“Autumn is a great time to get involved – come along for a walk and, if you find any litter, pick it up and take it home to recycle.

“Or get creative and find a picturesque backdrop to showcase your action and share the results with us!

“Being by the water makes people healthier and happier so, whatever you choose to do, a trip to Lancashire’s waterways is the perfect way to enjoy an autumnal afternoon.”

Every year, an estimated eight million metric tons of plastics enter our oceans on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.

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Whether by errant plastic bags or plastic straws winding their way into gutters or large amounts of mismanaged plastic waste streaming from rapidly growing economies, that’s like dumping one Wigan dustbin lorryful of plastic into the sea every minute of every day for an entire year!

Once in the ocean, plastic decomposes very slowly, breaking down in to tiny pieces known as micro-plastics that can be incredibly damaging to sea life.

Despite a growing awareness of the dangers to wildlife, not least through high-profile news reports and documentaries by Sir David Attenborough, plastic production and consumption are predicted to double over the next 10 years which means that if nothing is done to counteract this, the planet could be facing 250 million metric tons in the ocean in less than 10 years.

Find out more by searching for #PlasticsChallenge on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram