Clyde Valley Campaign To Tackle Marine Plastic & Packaging

Environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and plastics recycling charity RECOUP have joined forces to launch “Upstream Battle” – an 18-month campaign which aims to raise awareness of marine litter and marine plastics along the River Clyde.

Each year, around 12.7m tonnes of plastic enters our seas, endangering marine wildlife and harming our environment.

This major new initiative aims to empower businesses, communities and schools in the Clyde Valley to help raise awareness of the issue of marine litter and stop packaging getting into the marine environment in the first place.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We have received fantastic support for the campaign so far from a number of businesses including RCP/bpi, Valpak, Plastics Europe, British Plastics Federation, Cromwell Polyethene, Viridor and The Packaging Federation.

“RECOUP are delighted to be working collaboratively with Keep Scotland Beautiful on such a key issue. Raising awareness of the source of litter that ends up in our rivers and oceans is crucial to future behaviour change. This initiative will empower people and address the problem of land-based litter which could find its way into water courses feeding into the Clyde.”

“We also welcome the support from the Scottish Government who are backing the campaign. We need to take action on the amount of plastics and packaging that is finding its way into our rivers and oceans and we hope more businesses in the Clyde Valley and the West of Scotland will get involved and play their part in this important campaign.”

Upstream Battle is the first “source to sea” campaign of its kind in Scotland – highlighting the pathway that litter takes from land to reach the sea. With new research revealing that 88% of people across Scotland are concerned by the extent of litter pollution in our rivers, and the European Commission disclosing that an estimated 80% of marine waste originates from land, the campaign fulfills a real environmental need.

Stuart Foster, CEO RECOUP, said: “RECOUP are delighted to be working collaboratively with Keep Scotland Beautiful on such a key issue. Raising awareness of the source of litter that ends up in our rivers and oceans is crucial to future behaviour change. This initiative will empower people and address the problem of land-based litter which could find its way into water courses feeding into the Clyde.”

Upstream Battle will focus on the River Clyde and its tributaries, from its source in the Lowther Hills in the South of Scotland, to Helensburgh and Greenock at the mouth of the Firth of Clyde. An estimated 1.8 million people (approximately 35% of Scotland’s population) live in the River Clyde catchment area and businesses from across the region are encouraged to get involved.

Key interventions during the lifetime of the campaign include:

  • Encouraging businesses and producers to work with us to help us raise awareness of and shift public attitudes to how they dispose of their packaging
  • Engaging thousands of school children to learn more about the path plastics and packaging take from land through rivers and into the sea
  • Partnering with the Scottish Government, Local Authorities in the Clyde Valley, and public agencies including Crown Estate Scotland, Scottish Canals and Scottish Water to raise awareness of the issue and take action

RECOUP and Keep Scotland Beautiful are delighted that several industry partners have stepped forward to address the issue posed by plastics and packaging finding their way into the environment.

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, said: “Programmes like Blue Planet have made us all more aware of the damage that marine litter causes but it is important to remember that much of this originates on land. We are all proud of Scotland’s rivers, lochs and seas but it is vital that we protect them from litter and so I am delighted that Keep Scotland Beautiful and RECOUP are taking action to address this.”

The first campaign interventions will get underway in the new year.

Harry Cairney, Scotmid Co-operative President, said: “Scotmid are proud to be involved in Upstream Battle – working with Keep Scotland Beautiful and RECOUP to make a difference to the River Clyde. Our core purpose as a co-operative is to serve our communities and improve people’s everyday lives and this environmental project fits those objectives. The ultimate goal is to eliminate Scotland’s marine litter problems and we are aiming to play our part in educating and inspiring people to change their littering behaviour to create a cleaner Clyde.”

Keep Scotland will be hosting a breakfast briefing for industry in November where businesses can learn about the opportunities to be involved. There is further information atwww.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/upstreambattleor email upstreambattle@keepscotlandbeautiful.org.uk


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