Litter is a growing concern around Peterborough. So to try and do something different, Litter picking groups including Crazy Kayaks and Litter Wombles, who collect dozens of bags of rubbish each week, have planned a fun outing on Sunday, May 16, where volunteers will be out on kayaks litter picking in the waters around the city.
They travel from Town Bridge, to Orton Mere, Alwalton lake, River Nene cottages, Milton Ferry Bridge and Castor during their journey around Peterborough.
Two groups have taken the initiative - one on water trying to get what they can get and one team on land along the river-banks, trying to collect rubbish left behind.
Originally this event was planned to take place on May 9, but had to be postponed due to poor weather conditions.
Peterborough Matters caught up with one of the Crazy Kayaks team organising the event, Jim Watts.
He said: “We got a kayak during the lockdown. It’s the best £500 we have spent. My partner Kerri Melero and I started going out at least three or four times a week. We absolutely love it, it’s a now passion for us. We see wildlife out on our trips. We are called the Crazy Kayaks on social media.
“It’s something we can do together, spent time together - there are so many benefits to it, gets us back in nature.
“On Easter Sunday, we went out and saw there’s so much litter in the river so just stared picking it up and it kind of snowballed from there.
“We took the route from the boathouse to Castor mill on that day- some of the stuff we found was awful. The rubbish levels depend on the stretch. From bottles to plastic cans to all sorts. So, we started collecting litter while we were out kayaking each time.
“We find all kinds of stuff- one time we found couple of messages in the bottle, probably the weirdest thing we have collected.
“We even found bottles of two stroke oil, which are so bad for the river and the wildlife that lives there.
“So, we got to thinking- What if we could get everyone in Peterborough and the surrounding areas who owns a kayak or canoe, or even a rubber dinghy to all get out on the river and do a mass clean up?
“We could see a lot more people were out kayaking so we thought why not come up with something like this? It might not be us leaving the rubbish behind but maybe we could help with the clearing up.
“Litter Wombles are a group of litter picking volunteers, we exchanged conversations and have now teamed up for the Sunday. So, many people have shown interest in doing it, it’s amazing.
“This is the first for Peterborough.”
Jim adds how important educating people about litter is and said: “It’s the lack of education and knowledge of how bad litter is, that’s the problem.
“We were kids, if I dropped a crisp packet, mum would clip me around the years. So, it’s the lack of education and attitude from the younger generations who can’t be bothered. It’s the lack of education. They probably have not been pulled up before for chucking litter.
“So rather than just blaming people, who have to get up and do something. As a result of covid and work from home, job losses. There will be a strain on the council and their services such as cleaning services. So, it’s an initiative that came about after realising, that we can’t just ignore it and will have to do our little bit.
“You can come in and join any point of the day, and chose the zone that’s most convenient for you.
“Bring your Kayak, rubber boat or if you don’t have access to one and still would like to take part, you could join the Harry Machin from the Wombles and his team on foot. There’s no specific start time, but we are thinking between 10 am to 4 pm. But it’s flexible and you can join in at any time.
“We are planning to put the litter bags collected during the period outside Asda in town and then the council has kindly agreed to take it off from us.
"It’s very exciting and It’s actually a day before my birthday. If we have a good day, we hope to do this more regularly.”
If you are interested to join the litter picking event, you can find more information here.