All over the world, our oceans, lakes, and rivers are full of trash. There’s a heap of plastic garbage swirling around in the Pacific Ocean right now and much of it is the result of our own littering and improper trash disposal. Some waterways in Europe suffer the same littering problem, which led to the EU banning single-use plastics, like cutlery and bags, outright back in March.
To bring awareness to the problem of water pollution, Greenkayak, a Denmark-based environmental group, is letting travellers kayak for free on a number of Europe’s rivers and lakes—as long as they pick up any garbage they find along the way, which is a lot less disgusting than it sounds.
Greenkayakers are provided with the basics: A life-vest, a paddle, a trash picker, a bucket for the garbage and two hours of free kayak-time. You don’t need to be an experienced kayaker or an avid swimmer, as you won’t need to make direct physical contact with the water (thankfully).
Since the program began in April 2017, Greenkayakers have collected nearly 10,886kg of trash—including plastic bags, bottles, lighters, shoes, and tote bags—from European waterways.
“In Denmark, people hang out on canals and eat pizza and unfortunately see trash floating by,” Tobias Weber-Andersen, one of Greenkayak’s co-founders, told USA Today of the program’s origin.
“You can’t take your shirt off and jump in, but you can get in a GreenKayak and make an impact.”
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Currently, the program provides kayaks in cities throughout Germany, Ireland, Norway, and Denmark. If you want to take advantage of the free kayak, tour a city from its river, and do your part to curb the problem of water pollution, you can sign up for a time on Greenkayak’s website. And if you’re grossed out by the idea, remember: Trash is everywhere and paying for a kayak somewhere “cleaner” is a pointless endeavour.