Fishing for Floating Waste
Last Sunday, the 25th of April, the time had finally come. To contribute to a more sustainable and sporty lifestyle, Mark and Didi, our USC sustainability coordinators, battled against the plastic waste in the canals of Leiden. Every Sunday, Plastic Spotters Liselotte Rambonnet and Auke-Florian Hiemstra guide a team of volunteers to help clean up the canals by getting rid of floating waste. The Plastic Spotters do not only provide the volunteers with canoes and necessary tools, they also give an interesting talk on the recent history of floating waste fishing, making it a fun daytime activity with a charitable purpose!
The ecosystem is full of it, micro- and macro-plastics. On average, humans consume approximately one credit card’s worth of plastic on a weekly basis. All ingredients of the plastic soup can be sourced back to us: (open) bin bags next to garbage bins, menus from your favourite bar/restaurant, confetti and party cups, and the plastic bags from the markets. Why not contribute to cleaning up this mess?
Our group consisted of six volunteers and two supervisors, split into two groups to adhere to the COVID-regulations. With our supervisor in tow, we made our way to the centre of Leiden. Before we started, we were warned that there could be anything lurking beneath the surface. During our trip, we found an astonishing variety of objects, including a complete wooden armchair!
After all garbage bags were filled up and many calories were burned by paddling, all the waste was brought together and sorted. By cataloguing the types of waste found, it becomes easier to map the major sources of waste. As a result, more effective policies can be created to tackle pollution at its core.
After sorting the waste, we basked in the warm afternoon sun and reminisced about our cleaning and paddling performance. Inspired and filled with enthusiasm, we intend to return soon for another day of adventure with a touch of sustainability.
How to participate
Would you like to help clean up the canals of Leiden? You can! Check the following website to enroll and for more information on the project: https://drijfvuilvissen.nl/.