March 20, 2020

Valuable data and an expensive find

With a new season of litter fishing at our doorstep, we focussed on testing the software used to map waste in de Leiden canals. During such a test we found the most expensive object so far from the water. We reckon this record will not be broken anytime soon! The crowdfunding for extra canoes is going well and we are steadily approaching the target amount.

Valuable data
February 21, we took to the water again with a small but dedicated group of litter warriors who fished 14 trash bags of waste from the water in just a few hours. Also about 500 plastic nets, from the turf on the Lammermarkt. More about this pollution in this article from Trouw (Dutch). We do not yet see a decrease in the mats, as this overview map shows. Data will play an important role in our work in the near future. We will keep removing junk from the canals, but we also want to map out what its sources are, where it is going and what quantities we are talking about. This way, municipal policy and behavioural change can be implemented more effective.

In de media
The crowdfunding for new canoes has received a lot of media attention. We also notice this when we are on the water: passers-by know our actions and regularly report that they have donated something! A selection from the news of the past few weeks: Leidsch Dagblad about the crowdfunding in this article. Sleutelstad shows that plastic-free canals are also essential for animal life. Furthermore, an extensive item on Unity about the types of plastic pollution in Leiden, the sources and what can be done about it.

A 6000 Euro road bike
During a trial canoe session on March 15, in which we tested our method for data collection, we pulled a very expensive racing bike out of the canal! Thanks to the police, the overjoyed owner was reunited with his bicycle a few days later. The bicycle had cost 6000 Euros and was stolen from the owner's car. The thief may have become nervous and dumped the bicycle in the canal soon after. Apart from soaked ball bearings, the bike was not damaged at all! Leidsch Dagblad also gave attention to this most expensive discovery of the canoe fleet ever.

This season's sessions
The planning is to conduct a large number of sessions in the upcoming season. We are currently awaiting developments regarding the COVID-19 virus and hope to come up with an agenda soon.