Deborah Meaden is one of a number celebrities leading a nationwide appeal to clear wildlife-rich canals of harmful plastic waste.

The entrepreneur from Taunton is part of a plan from The Canal & River Trust urging the public to take action to end plastic pollution by joining the Big Plastic Pick Up.

A staggering 14 million pieces of plastic end up in and around the Canal and River Trust’s waterways each year, with 500,000 pieces end up flowing out to sea. 

Plastic waste has a devastating impact on the home to wildlife and nature and other species of wildlife are at risk of permanent harm from litter pollution.

TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing performer Neil Jones has joined Deborah and pledged his support for the #PlasticsChallenge campaign.

Other stars to support the movement include TV presenter and singer Cerys Matthews, presenter Gaby Roslin, celebrity chef and presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, zoologist and presenter Megan McCubbin, comic Bill Bailey, actor and presenter Tony Robinson, Property Ladder star Sarah Beeny, broadcaster Saira Khan and The Wombles!
“I'll be partnering up with my litter picker to help out with the Canal & River Trust’s Big Plastic Pick-Up,” Neil said.

“Plastic and litter can be dangerous to both people and wildlife, so we urgently need to keep up the fight against it. Together we can help banish plastic rubbish by canals for good.”
The charity, which raises funds to help protect 2,000 miles of historic canals and waterways in England and Wales, is appealing for people to donate £14, pickup 14 pieces of litter and encourage 14 friends to join the fight against plastic. 

Eoin Harris, head of environment and climate action at the Canal & River Trust, said: "It’s the little things we do on our doorstep that can make a world of difference.

“We have worked out that if everyone visiting our canals and waterways picked up just one piece of plastic, the network would be clear of litter within a year.
“Litter has a devastating impact on the wildlife inhabiting canals and rivers. Animals get entangled in plastic packaging and can suffocate in items such as plastic bags. 

“Creatures can cut themselves on sharp objects thrown away and the rubbish discarded damages the homes and nests that animals spend so long building.

“Our aim is to be plastic free as soon as possible and that’s why we’re encouraging everyone to get involved with this year’s Big Plastic Pick Up.”
For further information and to find out how best to get involved