Saturday, March 19, 2016

Creating worldwide KayaClean community website

In April 2012, I launched the first KayaClean clean-up action near Li├Ęge, in Belgium, a local kayak club lent a few kayaks and with a group of teenagers who dropped out of school, we went on the river. We explained them how to paddle in the morning and in the afternoon we navigated upstream the Low-Ourthe river along the banks to collect all trash we could. A happy first action with over 100kg of trash removed out of water.

KayaClean engages the local community to remove trash from rivers, lakes and seas in a fun and active way. All paddle sports: Kayak, Canoe and SUP.

Many individuals or groups of people do water clean-ups every year. NGOs, firemen or local diving clubs. The focus here is on the hardest locations where trash can end. Rivers, Lake, Sea or Ocean shores can be very hard to access. Trash can hide in the mud, under treeroots or land on rocks below a cliff. It can even been seen sunk a few feet below the water and it is often possible to get it out with a paddle or a courageous arm going deep. With a canoe, SUP or kayak, most of the trash can be accessed. It's the most efficient way to get there and collect a piece of trash before going to the next item to pick up.

Therefore, KayaClean focusses on paddle sports that allow a enjoyable progression device to get to the place, collect trash and go home. Also, the three sports allow to be rather fast to move on the water and get close or pass under tree branches.

Once trash is in the water, it is very hard to get it out. Initiatives like the Ocean Clean up are great for mass removal in the Oceans or Seas but in fragile rivers, lakes, creeks... only a manual removal is possible.

This current blog/site is here to help understand the content and aim the the website. A crowdfunding campaign will be launched with 2 aims:
1) Get funding to pay a (team) of developers to make the best site possible. With above goals reached, perhaps build and iOS and Android App. Some funds are required also to pay the server hosting for at least the next 10 years. Once the site is done, it should be able to work and engage with volunteers. So no need to create extra burdern and create an NGO or association that requires salaries and reporting to a state or worse many states and countries.
2) Do some PR and work to get KayaClean known to all paddlers, paddle sport clubs, paddle sport stores in the world to engage and encourage them to do clean-ups on regular basis.

Every year, the subscribers to the newsletter will get the yearly report about how the community did during the past year. A few times per year, stories and best practices with a kind reminder to go and do a clean-up will be done. So the maximum newsletters sent per year should be reasonable to be up to 4-5. It may include advertisement that will serve to get funds to maintain the website or do development updates.

The website will need to have a large "total volume of trash collected" (in kgs) on its first page to show every visitor how good the community is working.

Let's reach the first million kg of trash removed by 2020 or earlier.

Hopefully, by 2050, it the people are not trashing anymore, if technology has made bioplastics edible by bacteria or fish, if the Oceans are cleaned and there is no more waters polluted by trash, then the KayaClean site will be closed. That's the goal. A perfect world with no more trash in nature or water, where every human is responsible. We are far from it but it is possible.