A co-ordinated litter pick which saw more than two tonnes of rubbish removed from seven towns in the Borders in just two hours could be the first in a series of similar events.
The Seven Towns, One River Tweed clean attracted a turnout of almost 200 volunteers for litter-picks in Peebles, Cardrona, Galashiels, Melrose, St Boswells, Kelso and Berwick on Sunday, April 7.
And the success of that event has led to plans for a bigger attack on the region’s rubbish.
Organiser Tom Rawson, of local environmental group Plastic Free Borders, said: “Plastic pollution is a real issue and it is not just something we see on television. It is something that is affecting us here and now in the Borders.
“We thought that a collective effort to clean even a little of each town’s stretches along the river Tweed would make a powerful statement to the Borders community that we are all linked together and keen to work toward the common goal of reducing single-use plastic consumption and its associated litter problem.
“Apart from the obvious social and environmental benefits, we felt the Seven Towns, One River event would be of huge benefit in raising the issue of plastic pollution on a regional and national level.”
Some 196 volunteers across the seven towns picked up 2.2 tonnes of litter in just two hours.
Items collected included agricultural waste, wet wipes, tyres, a washing line, fishing reel, nets and multiple pairs of knickers.
“It really shows the level of the problem,” said Mr Rawson, a teacher at St Mary’s School in Melrose.
“It’s something that we can’t turn a blind eye to. This isn’t rubbish that is washing up on beaches – it’s what we in the Borders are producing.”
Mr Rawson said that he wanted to organise another, bigger event in the near future, this time across a larger area within the River Tweed system.
“I think there was a lot of appetite to do it again, and we want to spread it out to a wider area and get other groups involved next time,” he said.
Volunteers were also out in force in Selkirk this weekend for the town’s annual big spring clean.
Around 30 people of all ages worked together to give the town a clean up, collecting around two dozen black bags full of rubbish between them.
Volunteers then enjoyed well-earned refreshments thanks to donations from Cameron’s bakery, John W Taylor butchers and O’Malleys.
More details can be found on the Instagram page @greentweedeco