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Paddleboarders on plastic patrol in canal clean-up

Cancer survivor battles through ‘green menace’ in search of Regent’s Canal rubbish

03 August, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Plastic Patrol paddleboarders make their way through green duckweed on the canal

A PADDLEBOARD­ING “powerhouse” led a team of environmentalists down the Regent’s Canal fishing rubbish out of the green duckweed.

Lizzie Carr, a cancer survivor and paddleboarding world record holder, has removed tens of thousands of plastics from the country’s waterways.

The 31-year-old previously worked in marketing but left the corporate world for a life of adventure and making a difference with her project, Plastic Patrol.

Ms Carr said: “I really admire people who go out and make up their own rules for life to turn their dreams and ambitions into reality.”

Lizzie Carr (left)

Figures show 80 per cent of marine debris comes from inland canals. Plastic Patrol aims to stop the problem at source.

A year in remission after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Ms Carr posted on Facebook this week that “the fear of recurrence is always in the back of my mind, but I never talk about it”, adding: “Instead, I fake it and pretend everything is OK. By pretending, I almost start to believe it too, for a while, but going back to hospital brings the emotions flooding back – and it scares me.”

The south Londoner is the first person to paddle­board the length of the UK.

The Canal and River Trust is reminding people not to throw litter into the canal duckweed – also known as the “green menace” because it swamps the canal in hot weather.

Dogs and other animals have been known to jump into the canal thinking the weed is grass, and the bed of algae can also starve aquatic wildlife of oxygen and sunlight. The Canal and River Trust – the charity that looks after the waterways – has sent its special “weed-eater” boats out on the water collecting tens of tonnes of duckweed each week.


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