Through the efforts of five friends and a whole lot of helpers, who all happen to be stand-up paddleboarders (SUP), a clean-up mission was undertaken on the canals of Haarlem on Monday 6 June – coinciding with World Oceans Day.

Karen, Kasper, Babs, Jasper and Marleen all have different backgrounds and expertise, but have at least a few things in common – they like to get out on their paddle boards in the city, and while they are at it they are helping to keep the city’s canals clean. The biography on the organiser’s website makes it clear. These five founders of SUPmission all have ‘a green heart, love for their city, and turn words into action.’

World Oceans Day

World Oceans DayMonday 8 June 2020 is an annual celebration of our precious marine environments – designated as the UN World Oceans Day – and it is a day to reflect on how to protect our marine ecosystems as well as the waterways around us. We can do our bit to prevent waste making its way into the ocean in the first place (i.e. by reducing our use of plastic; see our recent article on this topic here), and we can respond to call-to-actions like the initiative of SUPmission.

Haarlem canals

In Haarlem today, the boarders were out on the water collecting litter while following the social distancing guidelines. The organisers were overwhelmed with responses and had to close registrations to volunteers in advance due to capacity. But don’t worry, there will be other events that you can join in and help in the future. You don’t even need to have good ‘sea legs’ or to get on the water to SUP, you can also help from dry land.

If you’re curious to find out more, you can check the SUPmission Facebook page for a short video of today’s expedition and photos of previous outings. These missions are only possible through the efforts of the team of organisers and all the volunteers. We thank you all for your great efforts of cleaning up our waterways!

Would you like to help keep our city, waters and quays clean? You can sign up for the SUPmission via the website! 

Photo is from SUPmission (from the Facebook event page here) (credit: Sandra Reeb-Gruber).
Carmel McNamara