BOATERS will be setting off on Saturday to give Oxford’s waterways an autumn clean.

Volunteers will leave clubhouses and marinas across the city to carry out a two-hour morning stint of rubbish and litter clearance on the Thames, Cherwell, other tributaries and the Oxford Canal.

There has been mounting concern this year about the large amounts of rubbish left floating on rivers and strewn along banks throughout the city.

And while boaters clear rubbish from the water, shore parties will join them to work along the Thames towpath and in Hinksey Park.

The clean-up, which is the first of its kind, is being coordinated by the River Users Group.

Taking part will be volunteers from Osney Marina, Medley Sailing Club, River Thames Society, St Edwards School, Oxford River Cruisers, City Barge Club and Falcon Rowing and Canoe Club.

They will be taking to the water in a variety of vessels, ranging from rowing boats and dinghies, to canoes and launches.

The River and Canal Day initiative is being supported by OxClean, the group which organises a city- wide clean-up every March.

A spokesman for OxClean said: “The accumulating rubbish – shopping trolleys, food and drink containers and plastic bags caught in the bushes – spoils the beauty of our waterways and the pleasure of boaters, walkers and cyclists.

“What could be more magical than the sight of a pair of kingfishers flying through the willows on the Cherwell in slanting sunlight?

“But this sight is too often marred by rubbish and litter.

“It also contributes to flooding as it blocks the way for water to drain into rivers.”

Staff from the Environment Agency will also support the event, while Oxford City Council is supplying sacks and boxes and collecting the rubbish at the end of the liiter-pick.

Dr Dick Mayon-White, of the River Thames Society, said some rubbish could only be reached by people on boats.

He said: “Since the river is the source of our drinking water, it is important that it is kept as clean as possible. Sadly there is a lot of plastic and cans floating on the water that no-one takes responsibility for.”

The river clean-up will take place from 10am to noon.