Zero Waste Blog #2

Turn back the tide on litter

One of the best things about living here in Perth is how close we are to some of the truly breathtaking sites nature has to offer. Take a summer stroll in the North and South Inches, or a walk along the banks of the River Tay and you will see a huge range of local wildlife. Unfortunately, insects and animals probably aren’t the only discoveries to be made along the pathways and puddles of our Fair City.

Littering and fly-tipping remain a constant threat to the local environment, and a danger to people as well as wildlife in Perth. Aside from being very unsightly, stray plastics, broken glass bottles and empty cans pose a serious danger. Children may be injured and animals poisoned or entrapped. A large proportion of plastics in our oceans comes from inland, from discarded litter that is washed into rivers and then ultimately out to sea. Over time, plastic waste breaks down into smaller micro plastics which are ingested by sea creatures. Many die as a result and all because that plastic bottle or crisp packet wasn’t disposed of properly.

The real tragedy is that this is entirely avoidable. Our message is - don’t drop it, bin it, or take your litter home. That way rubbish ends up in the bin and not in the bellies of creatures near and far.

Perth’s litter-picking heroes

Fortunately, we some real litter-picking heroes here in Perth helping to turn back the tide on litter. Piotr Gudan owner of local adventure business Outdoor Explore has been running Litter Free Paddle trips since August 2014, taking willing volunteers out on kayaks to clear up rivers and lochs throughout Tayside. In the past year alone their hard work has seen over 2 tonnes of rubbish removed from local waterways.

On land, local resident Duncan Cameron has been fighting his own battle against disposable cups on his regular running route along the A84 Perth to Scone road. In the space of one year managed to remove nearly 1100 cups from the roadside verges, a truly staggering figure. We’ve also had several local businesses pledging to take part in the Keep Scotland Beautiful National Spring Clean and to take action on litter in their local area. Pledges range from offering incentives to customers volunteering to take part in litter picks to organising community litter picks.

Want to help?

Want to be a future clean-up hero? You can get involved in organising and taking part in a litter pick near you. Perth and Kinross Council can lend volunteers litter pickers, black bags, gloves and an uplift of bagged litter. If you just want to get stuck in and help out with a local litter pick, check out the Clean Up Scotland website to find any litter picks taking place near you. And of course, our Beautiful Perth volunteers do our own litter picks in the City – contact us if you want to join us.

Finally, if you witness someone fly tipping or encounter a load of litter dumped, report this to Perth & Kinross Council or to Zero Waste Scotland’s Dumb Dumpers hotline. By working together we can all do our bit to reduce litter and help to keep Perth looking beautiful!

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