River Aire gets clean up thanks to volunteers

Volunteers clean up the river
About 40 people took part in Saturday's clean up [Phil Bodmer/BBC]

Car tyres, fridge parts and a traffic cone were among the items pulled from the River Aire by clean-up volunteers.

About 40 members of the White Rose Canoe Club took part in the clean up on a stretch of the river near Leeds city centre on Saturday as part of a national campaign by Paddle UK.

They filled dozens of bags of waste.

One volunteer, Dawn, who helped out with her son and grandson, said it was "a good way of relaxing, getting some fresh air and getting some exercise".

"You are doing your bit for the environment," she added.

Other items removed from the river included polystyrene blocks, footballs and takeaway boxes.

Training officer at the White Rose Canoe Club, Dean Jordan, said the club's own quarterly clean-up operations "bring all sorts of weird and wonderful delights out".

"It's not nice to see," he added.

"It's nice to try and help remove it."

Paddle UK, the national governing body for paddle sports in the UK, organises its The Big Paddle Clean-up campaign every year.

According to a spokesperson for the organisation, more than 2,500 volunteers helped collect about 1,800 "huge sacks" of waste items last year.

They included 6,767 plastic bottles, 2,739 glass bottles, 4,403 cans and 7,682 food packaging items.

Paddle UK's access and environment lead, Chantelle Grundy, said the campaign was "an opportunity for the paddle community to come together and show their love for the blue spaces that we enjoy paddling in."

Their collective effort "all adds up," she said.

"When you look at that national picture there will be thousands of sacks of junk and plastic pollution removed from our waterways across the country."

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