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Communities along the River Tay join marine litter fight

19 November 2021

Nine new community ‘Anchor Groups’ recruited to support Upstream Battle®

We are delighted to welcome the support of nine communities from across Tayside which have signed up as new ‘Anchor Groups’ for our award-winning Upstream Battle campaign.

Upstream Battle was launched on the Tay and its tributaries in August following the release of exclusive new research conducted on people in the Tayside area which showed that over 90% of people would like more action to be taken to prevent litter from getting out to sea; and over 80% of people would be more interested in learning about the actions they could take to prevent their rubbish from making its way to the sea.[1]

With 80% of litter in the sea coming from the land, the campaign aims to highlight how litter gets from rivers to the marine environment, and how everyone can help prevent it from getting there in the future.

The groups along the Tay, from the Dundee, Angus and Perth & Kinross council areas include:

  • Monifieth Eco Force, Angus
  • Bonnie Dundee, Dundee
  • Wild Shore, Dundee
  • Broughty Ferry in Bloom, Dundee
  • Broughty Ferry Rotary Club, Dundee
  • Willowgate Activity Centre, Perth & Kinross
  • Giraffe, Perth, Perth & Kinross
  • Beyond Adventure, Aberfeldy, Perth & Kinross
  • C406 Tackle Litter Group, Stanley and Kinclaven, Perth & Kinross

The nine Anchor Groups will provide a key role in the Upstream Battle® campaign by carrying out regular litter surveys and litter picks along the River Tay, or one of its tributaries, in their local area. This data will be used to provide a picture of the litter problem along the Tay, giving an understanding of how litter ends up in our waterways and seas.

Volunteers from the new groups have recently received online citizen science and behaviour change training and a bespoke version of our innovative climate emergency training to help them become better equipped to gather local litter data and use this, with support, to plan targeted campaigns to challenge the behaviours that are causing issues locally. 

Ross Dempster from Beyond Adventure - a watersports business based in Aberfeldy who offer instruction, guiding and expeditions in paddlesports - said, “We organise litter picks quite a lot. We’ve found all sorts – beer cans, crisp packets, plastic bags and traffic cones. We are delighted to be part of the Upstream Battle campaign to raise awareness of litter and help to clean up our local waterway.” 

The new Anchor Groups will now adopt a local stretch of waterway and implement the citizen science aspect of the Upstream Battle campaign – gathering data to help build a wider picture of the litter problem the communities along the River Tay and its tributaries - the rivers Almond, Braan, Dighty Water, Dowally Burn, Earn, Isla, Lyon and Tummel - are facing.

This information will allow the Anchor Groups to develop local behaviour change interventions and will also assist Keep Scotland Beautiful and other partners to further understand litter trends - providing evidence for exploring future national prevention methods.

Heather McLaughlin, our Campaigns Officer, commented:

“We’d like to thank the new Anchor Groups for joining our battle against marine litter along the River Tay. Their support and work will allow us to develop a unique picture of the potential for litter to enter the River Tay, the North Sea and beyond.

“Our recent data shows we are heading towards a looming litter emergency, so the information our Anchor Groups provide will ultimately allow us to better understand littering trends and behaviour, and how to tackle them.”

If you're inspired to support the campaign why not join the battle and check to find your closest Anchor Group across Tayside.


[1] Diffley Partnership, ScotPulse commission by Keep Scotland Beautiful 2021

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