Meet Poppy and Eliza

Small actions can make a big difference, as these two inspiring young litter pickers are setting out to prove

Poppy and Eliza

Peter Watts

Posted on 15/07/2019

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Poppy and Eliza, two young girls aged 9 and 7, decided they wanted to do something about the litter they kept seeing during a canal holiday on Shropshire and so, at Poppy’s instigation, they pledged to spend an hour day collecting rubbish from the towpath. By the end of their break they had accumulated 12 bin bags of rubbish and also raised more than £350 in sponsorship money for the Canal & River Trust. “If everybody did their little bit it would be a better place,” says Poppy during a film the Canal & River Trust made about their exploits.

As Poppy and Eliza demonstrate, anybody can help keep the canals clean of plastic, no matter what their age or size. The Canal & River Trust have created a Family Plastics Challenge Pack to encourage families to participate in the national plastics-free campaign. The pack features a range of activities for families that have been designed to help children understand what the problem is and then find ways to deal with it. For instance, one activity asks a child to wrap an elastic band around their hand and then remove it without using their free hand, their teeth or any other object – the intention is to demonstrate how dangerous something as simple as a discarded elastic band can be for birds and fish.

With activities such as this, the pack asks children and families to think about the various ways plastic affects their daily life as well as the impact it has on the ecology of the rivers and canals. Recommended activities include making films and posters about plastic pollution, as well as straightforward litter-picking out on the towpath. The Family Plastic Challenge pack can be ordered from the Canal & River Trust, downloaded or printed via the Canal & River Trust website.

If you agree that Poppy and Eliza are an inspiration, you can still donate to their Just Giving page.

Poppy and Eliza