St Ninian's Primary School, Gourock

Project: Toby the Turtle

The Pollution Preventers are made up of members from the Eco Pupil Voice Group from Primary 6 pupils at St Ninian’s Primary, Gourock. They were eager to take part in the STEM the Flow project as it was a good fit with their environmental education and they thought that it was a practical way to evidence their commitment to improving their local area.

As Gourock is a coastal town, the learners were able to see the litter accumulating on the local seashore. They investigated maps of the local area to identify streams and burns which would contribute to the River Clyde as potential source to sea pathways. This research identified a burn (The Gourock Burn) which ran through a local park and was in close proximity to two primary schools, a high school and football pitches.  The pupils surveyed the area and concluded that this location was a major source of litter entering the River Clyde.  They also researched litter within the Clyde beyond our local area and found out about the Arrochar Litter Sink.

As the learners could see litter within the burn, the embankment and also the park they decided that their solution would have to be able to collect litter from land and water.

Scientific poster

Their solution to marine litter is Toby the Turtle. This is a device which will operate on land and water to collect litter.  A vacuum picks up the litter.  For larger pieces of litter, a ‘tongue’ will operate to scoop the litter into the collection box.  A GPS tracker monitors the location of the device.  When full, the device sends a signal to an app with its location so that it can be emptied. Cameras on the front of the device will help to prevent it from being vandalised. The device is a hybrid of solar power with battery back-up.


In forming their team, The Pollution Preventers, they established a project leader and sub-groups of design and technology.  Although tensions ran high, at times, they were able to overcome their differences and work constructively on their solution, pulling on individual strengths.


Litter Survey and Pick

Prototype - front

Prototype - side

When full, the device sends a signal to an app with its location so that it can be emptied.


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