Increase in litter found in region's rivers and canals

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Penny Silvester

There has been an increase in the amount of rubbish found along rivers and canals in the Thames Valley and South East since the nationwide lockdown.

Riverbanks and towpaths have been left strewn with litter, including Personal Protective Equipment.

Now the charity Canal and River Trust, that looks after our inland waterways, has launched a campaign encouraging us to pick up our rubbish and take it home.

Credit: ITV Meridian

Morgan Cowles says: "There's a lot of plastic bottles and cans along with piles of rubbish left in areas. One of things we're really concerned about is that more than 14 million pieces of plastics will find their way into the waterways each year. And of that, 20,000 bin bags worth of plastic will end up in the oceans via the canal river trust waterways."

Charity volunteer, Jonathan Griffiths Credit: ITV Meridian

Jonathan Griffiths is just one of an army of volunteers who usually spends his time picking up other people's rubbish.

He says: "We're so lucky to have this beautiful environment round us that it is our responsibility to look after it. There are so many people who just pay lip service to plastic waste and they don't actually do anything."

Credit: ITV Meridian

They charity spends around one million pounds a year on bin collections and litter picking.

To help tackle the backlog, the charity says it needs everyone to do their bit.

Morgan says: "If each person just picked up one piece of plastic each visit, we'd have no plastic left on the waterway in one year."

Credit: ITV Meridian