Breaking Paddleboard Records to Fight Pollution


– I was the first person to paddleboard the length of England, and then I was the first female to paddleboard across the English Channel. (light splashing) Being on the water helps
me restore my health, and now I feel like I want
to give something back and restore the health of the waterways because they need it. Paddleboarding was my way to
tackle the plastic pollution. (upbeat music) (gentle lapping) My name’s Lizzie Carr. I’m an adventurer,
environmentalist and paddleboarder. I started paddleboarding purely as a way of getting fit again after I was diagnosed with cancer. The first time I put
my paddle in the water, it was like meditation. It was this really
calming, serene experience, and then all of a
sudden, I’m on the water, and I’m seeing plastic everywhere. On all the journeys I’ve done, bottles are by far the most
common thing I’ve found. I think I’ve probably picked
up thousands of these. You see how big and how immediate and close the problem is. Eighty percent of marine
debris starts inland, so effectively from our water ways, before it flows out into the oceans. For me, it was always about using adventure and paddleboarding as a way to get people thinking and talking about plastic pollution. I decided to paddleboard
the length of England from its most southerly point to its most northerly point through the connected waterways network. I started in Godalming in Surrey, and I paddled 400 miles to
Kendal in Lake District. It took 22 days to complete, and I photographed and logged every single piece of plastic that I encountered on that route. I took over 3,000 photographs, thousands and thousands of pieces. What I logged was a crazy amount, and that’s not even a fraction of it. My next adventure was
paddleboarding from England to France, so it was about 24 miles across on the English Channel and take water samples every fourth mile to analyze micro-plastics. And if you look closely, you can find these tiny
pieces of micro-plastics where it looks like styrofoam
has just broken down; and obviously that never goes away, and that’s when it gets really dangerous because that’s when marine
life confuses this for food and they eat it. You can see it all over. This Saturday, we’re
going out in North London, and we’re doing a big clean
up there with the community. Welcome to Plastic Patrol. And then we’ll just get out on the water and spend a couple of
hours just paddling around and looking for litter and
putting it in the buckets that we have at the front of the boards. Over the last few years of Plastic Patrol, we’ve collected 189 ton
bags of plastic waste and removed them from our water ways; and I look at every
single one like a victory. You’re seeing the very best and the very worst of humanity. The worst is represented
by all of the plastic and the sheer volume of plastic that you’re there clearing up, and the best is the
people trying to fix that. I feel more proud of that than I do of paddleboarding a distance.

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