Loch Lomond NNR
At this time of year the vegetation has died right back and along the Endrick Water the floods have left their usual tide mark of man-made debris and the rubbish really catches the eye as you walk parts the site. My faithful collegue, Finn the bog dog, always has a keen interest in any footballs in the debris. But last week we found one that he rejected immediately. When I picked it up it was rock hard and a closer look revealed why. The football was 42 years old. Still readable on the ball was the label – Scottish Premier Division Wembley 1976 – 77. Those of you with a keen interest in football history will know that 1977 at Wembley Scotland beat England in the match made memorable by Gordon McQueen’s powerful header and the pitch invasion that happened after the match that put paid to the pitch and the cross-bar. I don’t know if they made footballs as tough as this one to celebrate Scotland’s defeats but seeing as plastics can take over 450 years to break down, this one would have taken another 408 years before breaking down on the reserve if I hadn’t cleared it up.
A few more yards down the river bank and an old glass bottle caught my eye. A stoppered clear glass bottle labelled McDougall’s of Bonhill. A bit of research later and I found that McDougall’s was an old soft drinks company that set-up in 1882 using the old spring in Bonhill that previously had been the public water source. They were the favoured drink for all young children in the Vale of Leven, until the company was taken over by Dunn’s before 1972. This bottle was of the older, stoppered design. So more old rubbish.
This brings it home sharply to me that if we irresponsibly discard rubbish then it hangs around a very long time. And if we clear it up we can make a real improvement to the natural health of our reserves.
So to those that discard rubbish please don’t throw it away anymore. And to those brilliant people who pick it up and bin it, please keep doing that and thank you .