Bangor University is working with Trash Free Trails to deliver a research project to reduce litter and single-use pollution.
To launch the academic partnership, the University and Trash Free Trails hosted the first State of Our Trails Summit at the University’s own M-SParc Science Park.
The interactive conference attracted representatives from Bosch eBike Systems, Natural Resources Wales, Snowdonia National Park, Trek Bikes, British Cycling, the National Trust, professional athletes and more as well as community ambassadors from Trash Free Trails and researchers from Bangor University.
Dom Ferris, managing director of Trash Free Trails, said: “For us to achieve our mission to reduce single-use pollution on our trails and wild places by 75% by 2025 we first need to know how much is out there and what impacts it’s having.
“There is currently little to no scientific understanding on this (despite the fact that estimates suggest four-23 times more plastic pollution is escaping into our terrestrial ecosystems than their marine counterparts), it became clear that we had to do it ourselves!
“In response to this need, we made the State of Our Trails Report our hub project until 2025. Driven by our people-powered projects and fueled with (cycling) citizen science data, we’re honoured and excited to be working alongside Bangor University to conduct this pioneering research.
“All this is very easy to say, but actions speak far louder than words. So, being able to present our State of Our Trails Report – Baseline Study to almost 30 key ‘MTB ecosystem’ stakeholders, in real life, at stunning M-Sparc Centre confirmed our belief in the importance of this project and provided inspiration for all of us to begin the next phase this pioneering project.
“We’re incredibly grateful to all of those who made the journey to Anglesey, our partners and most importantly our TRASHMOB Community, whose 316 trail clean data sets made this all possible. Let’s go again!”
Dr Martyn Kurr of Bangor University’s School of Ocean Science added: “As we continue to develop our research collaboration, it is clear from the energy at the event that we’ll have plenty of interest and investment from other stakeholders. The lively and productive discussions and wonderful outputs from the workshops, show a passionate community of ecosystem managers, enterprising businesses, journalists, professional and athletes, and of course members of the public of all ages.
“We are all committed to working for a cleaner and litter-free environment. We are excited to see this kind of enthusiasm, and working closely with Trash Free Trails, we look forward to focusing that passion into a success for our natural environment. We could not have asked for a better event to start this journey!”
The event featured plenary speakers, breakout workshop activities, and live data analysis from Trash Free Trails’ own State of Our Trails Report. The event also included practical outdoors sessions, trail cleans, and guided bike rides at the Coed y Brenin trail centre.
Data from the weekend’s activities were analysed as part of the conference, and more analysis using three-dimensional models is planned. The event serves as a call to arms for researchers, businesses, policymakers, and the public to help tackle litter.
Emily Roberts, operations and customer experience manager at M-SParc said: “It was great to see such an initiative by a Bangor University student take place. As part of Bangor University, we work closely with researchers and student entrepreneurs. This project combined both, and we wish the project every success for the future.”
Chris Astle, UK marketing manager for Bosch eBike Systems, added: “We’re very proud to be working with Trash Free Trails on the State of Our Trails Report. Environmental responsibility requires a collective approach from a range of angles, and as one of the leading manufacturers of e-bike systems we’re privileged to be involved in such an important research project.”
Read the July issue of BikeBiz below: