GreenKayak is trying to reduce the amount of waste polluting our waters using the incentive of a fun activity – kayaking – to get people involved in water clean-up in cities across Europe including Copenhagen, Berlin and Hamburg.
Participants receive all equipment necessary, including a life vest and a bucket for the waste. Volunteers are invited to enjoy their city from the water for two hours, removing garbage from the river as they paddle on a double-sit-on-top kayak for two. Apart from cleaning up the water as they soak up the views, all participants are also asked to share their experience on social media, helping to spread the word about GreenKayak, an NGO based in Copenhagen, to their friends and further.
The project started in Copenhagen in 2017 but has quickly spread to various European cities including Berlin, Stockholm, Dublin and Bergen. The organisation also closely works with city leaders and other environmental initiatives to grow awareness about pollution issues and various ways of tackling them. The organisations’ leaders and volunteers participated in numerous events including World Cleanup day or C40 World Mayor’s Summit in October 2019, where they spoke to politicians, press and other stakeholders about their venture and plans for the future.
In two years, the volunteers using Greenkayaks across Europe have collected more than 18 tonnes of trash. The organisation relentlessly negotiates with an increasing number of cities and strengthens its flotilla in existing locations by adding more boats. Danish brewing company Carlsberg partnered with GreenKayak in 2018, helping the NGO to bring more boats to Denmark and beyond and also ditching the majority of plastic from its packaging.
Tobias Weber-Andersen, founder of GreenKayak believes that responsibility for pollution is shared and thinks that we all need to chip in to overturn the dire future of our environment. ‘We need to start helping the environment, we need to start taking care of the trash, even if it’s not yours,’ he says.
He believes that giving people the opportunity to help the environment through a fun activity will motivate people to do something to help their cities.
If you’d like to help the environment on your next city break in Europe, check out the GreenKayak website to find out more about their locations and how you can get involved.