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Dumbarton and Helensburgh surge ahead in committing to tackle marine litter

05 May 2022

On 4 May, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Scottish Water were joined by 15 individuals from Dumbarton and Helensburgh who are passionate about cleaning up the banks and shores of the River Clyde and its local waterways.  As part of our award-winning campaign on the River Clyde, Upstream Battle, we hosted a workshop that brought together members of local community groups; Friends of Dumbarton Foreshore, Friends of Leven River Valley and Plastic Free Helensburgh to discuss data captured from litter surveys and the activities the groups are engaged in to improve the quality of the River Clyde and its local waterways.

25 littered wet wipes were counted on a recent litter survey of a 25m length of Dumbarton Foreshore.  At the workshop Scottish Water shared details of their Nature Calls campaign that calls for a ban on wipes containing plastic.

Upstream Battle calls for all individuals, communities and businesses along the River Clyde to commit to helping improve the quality of our marine environment with a focus on ‘source to sea’ litter. As well as collecting citizen science data and taking action to clean up litter, the campaign seeks to raise awareness on the issue that 80% of all marine litter is due to actions carried out on land. 

The Upstream Battle marine litter art competition is currently open for entries. Pupils from early years, primary and additional support needs establishments are invited to research the problem of ‘source to sea’ litter and produce a creative piece of art to share their findings.  This could be a model, sculpture, video or poetry and the competition closes for entries on 1 June.

 Barry Fisher, our CEO, said, “We know that 80% of marine litter comes from land and that we need to tackle this problem upstream.  Our stats also highlight that 88% of people believe that litter is a problem nationally, while 70% believe it is an issue in their local area – this is unacceptable.

“For over 30 years we have taken action to reduce marine and coastal litter and played an important role in the development of Scotland’s first Marine Litter Strategy which was published in 2014, and the most recent Marine Litter Strategy consultation which ran until 22 March, and which we submitted a response to.”

“We were delighted to host this workshop as part of our series of joint events with Scottish Water. Our Upstream Battle campaign has been dealing with litter on the River Clyde since 2019. The support of everyone in Dumbarton and Helensburgh who came along and showed how much they care about this issue by making a real commitment to taking action, is inspiring and shows that together, we can make a real difference.”

Douglas Millican, Chief Executive of Scottish Water, said: “It was great to see the success of this workshop and the passion of each of the attendees was really encouraging.

“We were able to share some of the ways we’re helping communities tackle marine litter, to show how individuals and groups can commit to making positive changes. For example, to help reduce one of the most commonly littered items, plastic bottles, we’ve put Top up Tap in every local authority area, with 68 taps across Scotland. Through our Nature Calls campaign, we also ask everyone to bin their wipes and not flush them, to reduce the amount of sewage related debris littering waterways. We also encourage everyone to sign our petition calling for ban of wipes containing plastic.”


Upstream Battle was launched in response to the huge public and political concern around marine litter. Over the last three years Upstream Battle has supported communities to raise awareness, gather evidence and inspire action in the Clyde area. Find out how you can get involved in Upstream Battle at 

Details of the Upstream Battle Marine Litter Art competition are available at

Find out more about Scottish Water's Nature Calls campaign and sign the petition.


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