Campaign to clean up the Clyde


​The River Clyde is to be the focal point of a campaign run by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful

5th September 2019 by Yasmin Hackett 0 Comments

A week of action will be taking place in September, raising awareness for marine pollution and encouraging people to tackle the issue as a community. 

The campaign, Upstream Battle, has been put together by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, who are trying to raise awareness about how litter from the land can end up in the sea. 

The charity hope to show how litter dropped on land is washed into gutters, blown into streams and makes its way via our rivers into the ocean, promoting the idea that sea pollution is part of the ongoing contribution to the current climate crisis.

Keep Scotland Beautiful are calling for people to take pride in the Clyde and take part in the Upstream Battle Week of Action. As well as raising awareness of how marine pollution happens, the charity also hope to show that smaller actions from individuals can actually make a big difference.

It has been estimated that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the marine environment every year, and according to Keep Scotland Beautiful, 88% of people living in Scotland believe the amount of litter in rivers is a problem.

However, not everyone has made the connection between litter on land and the litter that is ending up in the ocean, which is why the charity are hoping to spread further awareness of the issue whilst tackling the problem with clean-ups involving the local communities.

The campaign - which runs from 14 to 20 September - will focus on the River Clyde, from its source in the Lowther Hills, along its major tributaries such as the rivers Kelvin and Leven, to the Forth and Clyde canal, and to the Firth of Clyde.

Paul Wallace, of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:“Keep Scotland Beautiful is calling for anyone living along the Clyde, or with an interest in the river, to take part in the Upstream Battle Week of Action. We hope that volunteers will come out in droves and take part in one of the organised events, or arrange their own.

“A drinks bottle or crisp packet carelessly discarded on our streets has a fair chance of ending up in our rivers and polluting the ocean. Upstream Battle is encouraging people to stop dropping litter, look after our river and ultimately protect our seas.”

It’s not the first time the Clyde has been the focal point of an awareness campaign, with the Clyde River Foundation having made strides in this area, but Upstream Battle is perhaps the first of this scale. It’s perhaps indicative of the Clyde as an emblem for the communities that reside alongside it.

And, in acknowledgement of that fact, Keep Scotland Beautiful aims to provide numerous ways and opportunities for communities to get involved.

One of those ways is through encouragement of citizens to gather their own data on the types, amounts and locations of litter in their local waterways. This data will be used to understand what needs to be done to tackle and reduce litter locally. The charity are hoping to create Scotland’s first comprehensive river litter data set this way.

Alongside this, the charity are inviting communities to create artwork which will promote the Week of Action. The artwork will be displayed on the streets of Glasgow during the weekend of 14 and 15 September.

Keep Scotland Beautiful will also be working with primary schools, challenging pupils to investigate the pathway of litter from their playground into the River Clyde and asking them to come up with their own answer to halt litter’s journey.

They will be recruiting young ambassadors for the Clyde, who will report on the issues and solutions through videos, photos and blogs.

The charity have already secured a few high-profile ambassadors for the campaign, including BBC Blue Planet cameraman Doug Allan, who helped formally launch Upstream Battle last year.

Allan said: “It’s never been more important to look after our planet. What we do on land directly affects the health of our rivers and our seas and everything that lives in them. It’s time to get serious about the source of marine litter, and I’m delighted to be supporting Upstream Battle.”

Communities are also being encouraged to organise their own clean ups, or to join clean ups that are already happening, where equipment will be provided (though attendees are encouraged by Keep Scotland Beautiful to wear appropriate clothing).

Word-of-mouth is an important way of spreading the word about campaigns like this, so the charity are hoping for people to help create a buzz on social media, using the hashtags #UpstreamBattle and #StopMarineLitter.