Transport Litter Week of Action
Shetland Amenity Trust and the Shetland Islands Council are to highlight the blight of roadside litter in the isles as part of National Transport Litter week, 19th to 25th August. They are also appealing for volunteers to help with a Redd Up along Da Black Gaet on Thursday afternoon. Anyone who would like to be involved should contact the Trust on 01595 694688 for further details.
Shetland Amenity Trust has received feedback from a number of Redd Up groups regarding an increase in roadside litter throughout the isles. Sita Goudie, Environmental Project Officer at the Trust, said: "An increasing number of Redd Up groups have reported an increase in roadside litter and asked if anything can be done. There have also been groups which have expanded their Redd Up area to include roadsides, as they say the litter in their usual costal area is reducing while that on the roadsides is increasing."
While problem roadsides have been identified by communities, due to the hazards involved with working at a busy roadside and the number of children involved in Da Voar Redd Up, many Redd Up groups cannot tackle these areas. The main roads are also heavily affected but, as they are often not close to communities and traffic is very fast moving, groups are even less likely to address these areas.
One person who did do this was Cecilia James, who last year removed over 1.5 tonnes of rubbish on the roadsides from Voe to Lerwick. Cecilia has recently completed a follow up Redd Up along the Lang Kames, to see what had gathered in the 6 months since she was last there, and the results are astonishing. In the 4.7 mile stretch of road from the Vidlin Junction to the Half Way House, she filled two skips with 74 bags of rubbish and additional bigger bruck. This included 12 bags of food packaging, 1,043 plastic bottles, 238 glass bottles and 1,212 cans. Other notable items were 31 disposable cups, 22 items of cutlery, over 15 scratch cards and an unopened packet of Mr Kipling Bakewell Slices! She also found many crisp packets which were neatly folded, tied or placed into empty bottles and questioned that if the owner had taken the time to do this why had they not taken it home to putin the bin?
A recent study revealed that an average of seven bottles and cans can be found on every 100 metres of Scotland's roads. Cecilia's efforts have revealed there was nearly 5 times this amount along the Lang Kames, with 33 per 100 meters! If you average the bruck over the 6 months it took to gather, passing traffic were discarding over three bags of litter on this short stretch of road a week, including over 50 cans, 53 bottles and half a bag of food packaging.
Cecilia said: "What has gathered in just 6 months is shocking. We live in such a beautiful place, those who litter are showing a complete lack of respect for our isles. Is it so hard to preserve our landscapes by taking your litter home? Clearing litter from the roadside is a hazardous task and I do not intend to clean this particular stretch of road again. I hope drivers and passengers who have littered will be shocked by the amount that had gathered in 6 months and change their ways."
Another stretch of road which has been cleaned is that between the South Levenwick and Clumlie Junctions. Angus Johnson, from Levenwick, was out walking and saw a lot of cans along the road. The next time he went out he took a bag and gathered up the tins along the way. He continued to do this for a week and gathered over 200 cans, two bags of plastic bottles and a bag of glass bottles. He commented that he hadn't realised the sheer number of cans and bottles along the road until he started bending down and picking them up.
Roadsides throughout the isles have been highlighted to the Trust and the Council as being blighted by litter and they are appealing to everyone to do something about it. Vehicle drivers have a responsibility not to litter, or let any of their passengers throw litter. They can also report anyone for littering to Environmental Health on 01595 745250.
Littering is an offence, which carries a £50 fine for those caught. Maggie Sandison, Executive Manager Environmental Services at the SIC, said: "If you care about Shetland's environment it can be really disheartening to see other people throwing litter out of their cars- ifyou provide a detailed statement to Environmental Health we can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice based on your evidence. We will need to know the date, time, a description of what happened and either the person's name if you know it or the registration and description of the car. We need to show the small minority of people in Shetland who still litter that it is unacceptable to the community".
SIC and Trust staff will be out on the roadsides on Tuesday, advertising the number to report littering. They also plan to carry out a litter pick along the Black Gaet on Thursday afternoon. If you would like to help with the litter pick, carry out a litter pick in your area or have suggestions on how to tackle littering please contact the Trust on 01595694688; firstname.lastname@example.org or post your views on their Dunna Chuck Bruck Facebook page. The Trust also has a number of free Dunna Chuck Bruck vehicle stickers and Transport Litter Week posters. If you would like one please contact the Trust.