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Grand Union Canal clean up collects over 1,000 sacks of rubbish

A team of volunteers have filled more than 1,000 sacks of rubbish which they collected during a two week blitz on Ealing’s Grand Union Canal towpaths.

The joint effort by Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents (LAGER Can) and the Canal & River Trust was part of Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean initiative.

The 30 volunteers covered the full 11.5 miles of the Grand Union towpath in 13 sessions to achieve their success.  They walked and collected from the M4 bridge at Osterley to Bulls Bridge and back along the Paddington Arm to Park Royal.

A large amount of the rubbish collected was cans and bottles thrown away by drinkers.  Other finds included a machete, a dead cat and two dead goats.

LAGER Can’s Cathy Swift is calling for the introduction of a national deposit return scheme (DRS) for cans and bottles. She said: “I am convinced that this kind of litter would disappear overnight if a DRS was introduced. Even if the people who buy the products didn’t collect their deposits, someone else would.”

Ms Swift added that finding weapons is not new for them. She said: “In the past four years we have found at least three guns and many, many knives. I have personally found five or six large knives or machetes.”

The LAGER Can volunteers cleaned up the canal regardless of the weather that was thrown at them. Ms Swift said: “I never cease to be amazed by and grateful to LAGER Can volunteers who care enough about the environment to do something about it, whatever the weather throws at us.”

Canal & River Trust volunteer coordinator Gareth George said: “The team made a real difference, making life by water better for everyone.”

The Trust and LAGER Can have been working together since January 2022. Ms Swift added: “We believe that if we continue to work cooperatively we can make a real difference to what should, after all, be a beautiful place to spend time.”

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