Volunteers clean up the River Kelvin

11 April 2019

Photograph: David Shea

A group litter pick was successful in sprucing up the River Kelvin and its surrounding area this month.

The cleanup was completed on 6 April and attended by organisation Friends of the River Kelvin, 40 volunteers, and a dog.

Lyn Dunachie, a member of Friends of the River Kelvin, said: “We are just in a small way doing our best to stop the River Kelvin’s environment being degraded by what people throw away.”

Registered charity Friends of the River Kelvin launched the monthly get-together in 1994. Back then, the group hoped it would raise awareness of the need to preserve the river, and the rich natural habitat of Glasgow’s West End.

The River Kelvin, which is 35 km long, is a tributary of the River Clyde. It runs through the city of Glasgow, and has five bridges which allow you to cross it at different points. The area around Great Western Bridge was the focus of the cleaning activity this month.

Photograph: Xianzi Chen

At present, plastic waste is the most destructive threat to the environment of the waterway.

To prevent plastic pollution, people are being urged to bin plastic bottles and cans rather than leave them by the roadside or throw them in the river.

Matthias Ennen, a volunteer, said: “I am originally from Germany, where you have deposit schemes. So when buying a can or bottle of juice, you must first pay the deposit on it. That’s why you don’t see so much [litter] lying around Germany.”

In most supermarkets in Germany, there are machines for recycling plastic bottles and cans. After the bottles are placed in the machine, the machine scans and weighs them to calculate the charge for disposal. Finally, the machine prints an amount which customers pay at checkout.

There are more than 20 species of wild animals living in the area of Strathkelvin, including grey squirrels, magpies and blue tits.

While it is important to keep the locale in good condition for everyone, it is essential for the welfare of animals.

According to the RSPCA: “Wildlife are the main victims when it comes to people’s rubbish – particularly wild birds.” On average, the RSPCA receives 14 calls a day about animals affected by litter.

For more information on Friends of the River Kelvin, click here.

Photograph: Xianzi Chen

Types of water pollution. Infographic: Xianzi Chen

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