What we learnt from the Canal Clear ups
A recurring theme throughout the Canal clear ups was how our littering actions locally actually impact upon the world globally and then come back to affect the quality of our lives locally. A big circle of environmental damage and pollution that will affect every one of us in our daily lives. The young people who took part in the workshop sessions at Tamfourhill Community Hub came up with highly creative ideas about how we can start to reduce the damage that we are causing by our constant use and dependency upon plastics. Top of the list is the need to get rid of single use plastics like drinks cups and juice bottles and we need to stop them getting into our food chain through their pollution of animal habitats. One of the groups suggested that we ned to start using bioplastic, made from plants and therefore will break down naturally once we have finished using it, edible plastics was another suggestion so that fish can eat them safely once they end up in the seas. Governments need to get more involved and ban certain products like plastic cups and carrier bags can be taxed so they discourage people from throwing them away after using them which will also generate more cash to help tackle the climate emergency and the worldwide plastic problems. Young people felt that not enough people knew about the danger and consequences of what all this plastic was doing to the planet and so we had to raise awareness and having days like the canal clear up days was a really good way of highlighting the issues with the wider community. The biggest and most consistent message was that we must stop people dropping the litter in the first place, we must find ways of discouraging this destructive behaviour. The journey of a piece of dropped plastic like an Iron Bru bottle thrown into the canal was discussed and the process by which it ends up in the sea as it travels through our water system. Once in the sea it is then eaten by fish that we end up eating in our fish suppers, so it therefore comes back and poisons us through digesting the dangerous chemicals derived from the plastic which are now in the fish. Here are some of the terrible facts and concerning realities of what plastic is doing to our environment:
There is an island of Plastic rubbish on our ocean which is the size of France
The Plastic theme was very evident at both the canal and towpath litter picks, the most frequent litter that the groups removed were plastic bottles and discarded drinks cans, these items were by far the largest and most significant type of litter that was being collected. I was again reminded of the scourge of thrown away plastic when I met up later in the week with the community volunteers who were taking part in the first if our monthly community litter picks. A big thank you to the group that worked in the sunshine, along Carmuirs Ave, around Elizabeth Crescent and clearing the back courts along the Glasgow Road. One of the volunteers highlighted to me the damage that leaving plastic does to our wildlife and animals and she described some horrific injuries which were often fatal that are being inflicted upon hedgehogs due to discarded plastics, and I am therefore keen to promote the work of the Forth Hedgehog Hospital and their rescue line : 07815914912 or contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org, I would also point out this can also happen to your family pet, plastics are getting into every bit of our lives, the animals around us and the food we eat.
The Canal Clear ups will be operational monthly from May to August, there will be open community sessions , and others targeted at local groups and organisations, if you would like to book a place or find out more then please contact myself John R Hosie at: email@example.com or give me a phone on 07391524528 , I have announced in past community safety blogs that Tamfourhill Community Hub is a national clear up Hub through Keep Scotland Beautiful, so our littering gear is always available for booking out, insurance can be provided and the rubbish that you collect will be uplifted by agreement with Falkirk Council ,you just need to contact myself and complete a borrow form and you are away, and if you would like to be part of a regular community litter pick, which will also involve an outdoor social activity, then the #tidycleangreen regular monthly litter picks will take place on the first Thursday of every month at 4pm and to get involved with these then contact myself again at the same numbers. (Next Community litter pick is Thursday May 6th, Election day, location still to be confirmed so please keep out an eye on our Facebook page for further information)
Thanks to Ella Gorman at Falkirk Council Waste Services for producing and presenting the above slides on Plastics and world pollution.