Join us on an expedition on the canals with plastic spotter canoe fleet!Reserve your spot
Plastic verzamelen en samen sorteren! (Foto's: Jacob Kaptein / National Geographic)
Do you want to join a Plastic Spotter clean-up? Then sign up via our reservation system, which you can do here. Participation is free, but we depend on donations. Every little bit is welcome.
More than waste
During the clean-ups, we don't only collect waste, but also data. When we moor the canoes after a clean-up, we see new plastic floating by. Cleaning up alone does not solve anything. But by analysing our finds and systematically charting them, we try to trace the source and thereby turn off the tap on shore. Through our research, we are trying to prevent new waste from entering the water and are working towards structurally reducing the amount of plastic in the canal. You can read more about our research here. We are taking the most unusual finds from the canoe fleet to the bridge operator's house on the Marebrug in Leiden. Here, right above the water, De Grachtwacht has its headquarters and we keep the most exciting finds in our collection, see here. Top finds from the collection can be seen in our window exhibitions. Have you visited us yet? Read more about our museum here. Our clean-ups do not go unnoticed. From local to national and even international media report on what happens here in the canal. From The Guardian to CNN and National Geographic wrote about the clean-ups in Leiden and our finds. More news can be found here.
For the clean-ups and research on the canal we have a nice fleet at our disposal. Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign by Leiden University, we were able to purchase six two-person canoes, which offer space for 12 volunteers, also known as citizen scientists. Our fleet of more than 500 volunteers can now navigate the canals armed with paddles and prods. And the fleet keeps growing! More and more people with their own canoes are joining in, and suppers are also joining in. And the bigger the fleet, the bigger the loot! The actions are coordinated from the research vessel RV01 (Research Vessel 01). This Volksboot of Leiden real estate company sails completely electrically thanks to the Torqeedo engine and is recharged while sailing by the solar panels on the deck. All the fenders were collected as litter in the Leiden canal and the rope used to tie it down is made from empty plastic bottles. In order to have the canoes collect as much as possible during a clean-up, the research vessel takes over all full bags and resupplies all canoes where necessary. The RV01 also serves as an 'animal ambulance on water' and rescues many an animal from the canal. During the trip, analysis of the finds starts here, making the RV01 our floating lab. Further research takes place in the bridge house.