April 22, 2020

Effects of the Corona crisis on the canals

Due to the Corona crisis, all organised activities by canoe in Leiden are canceled for some time. We are waiting for developments and advises from RIVM (Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) before we can restart our activities, with or without the necessary restrictions. Until then, we can already notice the effects of Corona on the canals.

The good news is that the amount of litter in the Leiden canals seems to be decreasing. Probably because there is less activity on and around the canal. The terrace boats are not in use, there are fewer people in the parks, fewer boats on the water and, for now, no market adjacent to the canal. We also observe a change in types of litter: face masks, lots of disposable gloves, shopping bags, toilet paper packaging. The canals seem to be a reflection of society. Plastic Spotter Auke-Florian Hiemstra also told about this on the Dutch TV talkshow Op1.

Preparations
Litter in the Leiden canals remains relevant, unfortunately. So, despite the limited possibilities to do research these days, we're not really time-bound. At the moment we do occasional monitoring with a small team, of course at an appropriate distance so we obtain an up-to-date overview of the distribution and quantities of litter. We are also testing our data acquisition methods and are working on our new canoe fleet. This way we'll be well prepared for group sessions as soon as they're allowed again!

Canoeing sessions
If the current measures are mitigated, we'll immediately consider how to restart canoeing sessions in accordance with the guidelines from the government and RIVM. It is still difficult to predict when this will be possible. In any case, it would be a good opportunity for a baseline measurement: what will we find in the canals after a period of closure of cafes and restaurants and the absence of the market?

Target crowdfunding almost reached!
As far as our crowdfunding is concerned, we still need less than 500 euros, thanks to you! As the crowdfunding runs until 30 April, please share www.steunleiden.nl with colleagues, friends, family and neighbours. Together we'll reach the target amount for cleaner canals!