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  1. ITV Report

Canals and rivers 'could be plastic-free in a year'

The UK's canals and riverways could be plastic-free within a year if everyone picked up one piece of litter each time they visited.

That's according to a new report by the University of Coventry and the Canal and River Trust.

Plastic waste accounts for 59% of all the rubbish found alongside rivers and canals, with more than half a million items ending up in the sea.

The pollution causes a number of issues for wildlife, the environment and boaters.

A shocking amount plastic is found in the canals and rivers that animals such as otters call home. Credit: Canal and River Trust

The Canal and river Trust cover 2,000 miles of waterways across the UK and is launching a new campaign asking millions of visitors each month to pick up one piece of plastic each time they come.

The charity claims the vast majority of litter found alongside and in the canals each year is potentially recyclable or could be re-used in creative and innovative ways.

It's easy to think "well someone else will pick it up. If I don't pick it up then it's not really going to make any big difference" but half a million pieces of plastic a year is a huge amount and we all need to be doing our bit.

– Stephen Hardy, Canal and River Trust

It is urging more people to join its network of volunteers who help to remove litter from waterways across the UK.