Environmental activist Lizzie Carr has become the first person to successfully paddleboard the navigable length of New York’s Hudson River - a 275km journey from Albany to the Statue of Liberty. Lizzie, who paddled for up to nine hours a day for eight consecutive days, confronted unpredictable conditions throughout her journey. The incoming Hurricane Florence brought gusts of wind up to 30mph with large swells along the East Coast. This, coupled with intermittent thunderstorms, torrential downpours, strong currents and commercial shipping traffic on a river that spans 3.5 miles at its widest point, makes this feat of endurance all the more impressive.
Lizzie, a passionate environmental advocate who founded the Plastic Patrol initiative in the UK following a cancer diagnosis that prompted her to take up paddle boarding to recover, took on this challenge to bring attention to the issue of plastic pollution, ocean health and, more broadly, climate change.
En route Lizzie conducted a series of citizen science activities to develop a better understanding of water quality on the Hudson River.
Lizzie concludes: “By tackling the problem at from the root – inland where 80 percent of marine debris starts – we can really make a difference. I was overwhelmed by the positivity and support I received from locals on my way. I was joined on the water by people who had been tracking my journey online and others stopped on the shoreline who cheered me on. It was incredibly motivating and really illustrates how much people care about the issue.”
The USA is one of the world’s largest consumers of single use plastic and it’s estimated that 90,000 pieces of microplastic per square kilometer were found floating in the Hudson River in 2017. Lizzie and the beach clean volunteers collectively photographed and plotted more than 2000 examples of plastic encountered along the Hudson River, pulling into an interactive map she developed: https://www.plasticpatrol.co.uk/map
See more from Lizzie’s journey via the hashtags #plasticpatrol #savethefuture #thehudsonproject and via her journey tracker at: https:///www.lizzieoutside.co.uk/live-tracker/