News Ticker

Tackling the plastic waste problem on the Mekong

David Brearley

In January 2019, David Brearley will be heading out to Laos to document the mismanaged plastic waste problem on the Mekong. Not much media has been promoted about the issues out there due to its, only recently changed, old communist government. Rob Kidnie made a media impact, seven years ago, about the Mekong and documented the mismanaged plastic waste in Cambodia and Vietnam ( but unfortunately this was too early to get a real publicity kick.

David says, “I want to document the problem above, and around, 4,000 Islands where there is some world class white water kayaking and so should be able to get some attention from the kayaking and outdoor community. New Zealander Mike Dawson, is the only white water kayaker actively making strides in this field, thinking on a global scale, and although British Canoeing has done some amazing work on the issue in the UK (I have attended multiple river clean ups on the Exe where I went to university), there is no effort, or at least that I can see, from British white water kayaking that impact on the global issue of mismanaged plastic waste (if there is please send point me in their direction; I have very limited resources and time as I work full time in an energy company). There is really incredible work from the likes of Cal Major and Surfers Against Sewage  (who I am both in contact with) on the SUP and outdoor community but everyone needs to band together on this one.. 

“My plan is to both document the problem out in Southeast Asia (spending a month in Laos and hopefully more, if funds allow, in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia) and to help organizations currently out there with their efforts by either donating to, promoting in media and setting up funding pages, or doing the dirty work involved in their current projects. Essentially if I can shine light onto the problem from a British white water kayaking angle, I hope to add to the cause of cleaning up this planet and the impact that we have so disrespectfully bestowed upon it.

David Brearley

“I have support from a few kayaking organizations (VE Paddles is connecting me to British Canoeing hopefully) on the project, as well as researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Exeter, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, British Antarctic Survey and industrial support from UK companies (eg. British Recycled Plastics) that unfortunately only operate on a local scale and do not have the capacity or resources to help me.

“I would like to raise money on a Go Fund Me page (or similar) that would increase the impact of my charity work with any extras going to Ocean Cleanup*. Any media promotion of the page, or indeed help on the set up and how to focus such a page, would be very appreciated.

“I have attached a summary (Cleaning Up Our Rivers South East Asia (IR and Pyranha)) of a talk I gave at Lee Valley White Water Centre on the problem that I have made videos on. I don’t have any sole allegiance with anyone, (as it affects everyone and should not be used as promotion for their products as such), and am only asking for contributions on a media side, promoting the project.

“If you want to support my cause and get involved with the project, or just want some more information on the issue from the scientific side, please don’t hesitate to get in contact by either email:, my mobile: +44 7903 144666, or you can message me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.”

David Brearley MEng (Hons)

David Brearley

About thepaddlerezine (654 Articles)
Editor of The Paddler magazine and Publisher of Stand Up Paddle Mag UK.

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