Updated: Jul 15
We're proud to announce that we're joining forces with Bosch eBike Systems to begin work on the the first stage of our State of Our Trails Report; the first ever peer reviewed research project to investigate plastic pollution across the UK’s trails and wild spaces.
Amidst reports of shocking ‘lockdown-litter’ incidents at beaches and beauty spots across the country, and a wonderful wave of ‘new’ outdoor enthusiasts exploring nature on their bikes, this timely five year academic research project will assess the causes, impacts and (most importantly) solutions to the ‘plastic pandemic’ sweeping across the UK’s trails and wild spaces.
This exciting collaboration with Bosch eBike Systems will culminate in the publication of the ‘State of Our Trails - Baseline Study’ on World Environment Day, June 5th 2021, providing the blueprints for this pioneering 5 year project.
Tamara Winograd, Director of Marketing and Communications at Bosch eBike Systems, said: “We are very excited to be working with Trash Free Trails. We feel a responsibility to protect the trails that our riders enjoy, and to engage with the mountain biking community to make positive changes together. Supporting Trash Free Trails’ valuable work is a very important part of that and we are thoroughly looking forward to the publication of the report.”
HUB OF ACTIVITY.
The State of Our Trails Report will act as the hub around which all of our projects will revolve for the next five years. From huge, citizen science powered trail clean-up activations, to purposeful adventures focussing on nature connection, the efforts and insights of each TFT volunteer will generate vital data for the report.
We call this approach ‘natural strategy’, as our aim is to create a deeper sense of purpose and natural connection for each and every person who volunteers to protect the places they love. By maximising the positive impact of every individual effort, we hope you will be able to ‘see’ the route to a 75% reduction of MTB trail litter by 2025 and feel compelled to join us for the long haul!
We are honoured to be working with academics at Bangor University, to produce this groundbreaking postgraduate research project. With the following aims and objectives;
2020 > 2022 - Establish the prevalence and impacts of litter on MTB trails and utilise this scientific evidence to develop an effective mitigation strategy
2023 > 2025 - Deliver a series of projects that create a meaningful reduction in litter and empowers communities to become ‘sustainable stewards’ of their trails.
Alongside financial support, Bosch will provide a fleet of Bosch-powered electric mountain bikes in collaboration with Trek Bikes UK, to aid data collection throughout the research project and making this exciting new form of citizen science accessible for experienced and new mountain bikers alike.
Whilst the publication of this ‘baseline study’ in January 2021 is the primary aim of this partnership, both Bosch eBike Systems and Trash Free Trails are excited at the potential for this to inspire the MTB and wider trail user community to recognise a collective responsibility towards the ecological health of our trails and wild places and embrace the wonderful opportunities to connect people with nature in a sustainable way.
Dom Ferris, co-director and founder of Trash Free Trails, said: “It is clear to those of us who ride, run and roam that our trails and wild places are becoming ever more choked with litter (single-use plastic in particular). But, can we back this instinctive, anecdotal knowledge up scientifically? No, not yet. This is why we are so proud to be working with Bosch eBike Systems alongside academics at Bangor University to begin work on our groundbreaking State of Our Trails Report.”
TFT FAST FACTS - WHY ACTION IS NEEDED NOW
Last year, 282 TFT volunteers removed and recorded almost 500kgs of litter from just 8 MTB trails during their Spring Trail Clean Tour, including; 644 single use plastic bottles, 756 confectionary wrappers and 830 dog poo bags.
Scientists believe that annual plastic release to terrestrial ecosystems is 4 - 23 times greater than into the marine environment (Horton et al., 2017).
There currently exists only a basic understanding of the effects of plastics in the terrestrial environment (De Souza et al, 2018).
Animal remains were found in 1 in 10 plastic bottles removed from Norfolk roadsides by the RSPB (Moates, 2018).
Microplastic contamination found in 90% of the soil in Swiss floodplains and nature reserves (Scheurer & Bigalke., 2018).
Clear scientific consensus that plastic pollution is an; “an emerging threat to terrestrial ecosystems” (De Souza et al, 2018) and that there are; “fundamental research questions to be addressed” (Horton et al., 2017).
We hope to mobilise an ‘army’ of (cycling) citizen scientists to gather SoOT Report data from across the world. Are YOU in?!
BECOME A (CYCLING) CITIZEN SCIENTIST
Trash Free Trails is powered by incredible people who volunteer their time to protect, promote and share their trails, people like YOU! The TFT team have created an exciting 5 year plan with projects of all kinds to get involved with.
Want to get started straight away? Awesome, it’s as easy as ABC!
Enter the data from any trail clean actions you have taken so far this year > HERE.
Save the date for our first ever Autumn Litter Watch Week this September the 19th - 27th > #BRANDSPOTTING
Learn more at @trashfreetrails > email@example.com
For information about Bosch eBike systems, visit www.bosch-ebike.com