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The National Spring Clean campaign has just come to an end, uncovering a multitude of rubbish in Cumbernauld’s greenspaces. The scale and quantity of litter recovered could have not been achieved without the amazing hard work of our Cumbernauld Living Landscape volunteers. Since January the volunteers have collected over 155 bags of litter – a grand total of 1.1 tonnes of rubbish. That’s equivalent to 39 (240L) wheelie bins! The rubbish collected shares the same weight as a 1979 Volkswagen beetle. Furthermore, that’s just what was in the bin bags!!

There were trolleys, sofas, plant pots, sheets of metal, a spade, tyres and that’s just to name a few. The volunteers’ continuous efforts align with the Great Global Clean-up campaign advocated for Earth Day, which happens every year on 22 April. The Great Global Clean-up aims to help end plastic pollution by promoting neighbourhood clean-ups. Litter has detrimental impacts on wildlife in all kinds of ways,  from ingesting foreign objects to getting trapped inside the litter.

Plastic litter can take 1000 years to fully degrade. But worse than that, the weathering of the plastic means small fragments break off and get into our soils and watercourses. It is estimated there is between 63 000 and 430 000 tonnes of microplastics in farmland in Europe, meaning our food is contaminated. Plastic pollution is present in all food chains. Microplastics are in our water sources. It’s now even been discovered in our bloodstreams.

Nevertheless, we can all help prevent plastics filtering through our soil and water courses by trying to avoid buying and using plastic, and if we can’t find an alternative, disposing of our waste responsibly. Additionally, if we all picked up two or three pieces on a walk it would make a massive difference to the area, the wildlife, and ourselves.

If you are passionate about combatting pollution, keep an eye on our social media pages for litter picks and contact katie.brown@tcv.org.uk to be added to our volunteer mailing list.


Rozelle McMillan