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‘Upstream Battle on the Tay’ Launches River Clean-up

LISTEN: Heather McLaughlin explains what the campaign is all about – Photo Credit: Donald Tong

Local communities are being asked ‘Tay’ step forward and help clean up their local river to help keep litter from spreading from their home and out into the sea.

80% of litter in the sea starts on the land and people in Highland Perthshire are being asked to help cut the cord of litter on the water from the source.

Barry Fisher, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “This campaign is about changing behaviour – we need to think differently about what we consume and how we dispose of it. The evidence is clear – the drinks bottle or crisp packet discarded in our streets, has a fair chance of ending up in our river and polluting the ocean. That has to stop, it’s time to look after our rivers, protect our seas and look after our environment.”

The team are looking for groups in local communities to become ‘Anchor Groups’ who patrol the river side and pick up the litter before it can become an even bigger problem for the world ocean environment.

This idea started with communities in Glasgow and along the Clyde Valley taking part and seizing their river’s litter and reclaiming it for the local marine life.

Campaigns officer, Heather McLaughlin explained: “What we’re doing now is we’re now asking active community groups, water sports groups and schools to put themselves forward to be what we call anchor groups.

“And these are groups who help survey it, do litter picks of it and get some training from ourselves on how we can examine this problem and how they can tackle it.”

One group involved, Friends of Cairnhill Woods, an Anchor Group along the Clyde, said: “Being an Anchor Group for Upstream Battle has enabled us to tackle this issue in a far more coherent way. We have the people power to do it and together we can educate others and get others involved, if only at the very least to stop disposing of litter in such a detrimental way.”

The plan is also being backed by the Scottish Government who want to see an end to the ‘blight’ of litter in Scotland’s waters.

Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform Màiri McAllan said: “We know that people want to see more action to tackle litter and keep our waters clean and the Upstream Battle campaign will help make that happen. The campaign has already been a success on the Clyde so it’s welcome news that it’s now coming to the Tay. Marine litter is a blight on our natural environment. This project will bring local communities together and support them in making a real difference to our water ways and seas.”

More information on how to get involved can be found on the Keep Scotland Beautiful website: https://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/

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