A rubbish day at Loch Lomond NNR

We are extremely lucky to have such willing and hard working volunteers and week after week they deliver vital conservation and maintenance work that we couldn’t do without them. But this week we asked our volunteers to do something that nobody ever wants to do…clear up after other people!

At this time of year all the rubbish that has been carelessly thrown away at Loch Lomond accumulates on the shore. Following all the winter storms we’ve had the line of litter extended right up to the field edges in some places! We litter-picked our way along a 2km stretch of the River Endrick and managed to fill a trailer load with what we found. Half of it was carted back to the trailer to be sorted for recycling and the other half was left tucked away neatly behind a gorse bush to be picked up by the boat – this stuff was too heavy to carry back to the trailer and included a waterlogged tent and sleeping bag, disposable BBQs left by careless campers and lots of glass bottles.

This is just half of what we collected!
Triumphant volunteers

The plastic crisis reared its ugly head again – plastic bottles and wrappers made up the bulk of the litter. These will break down over time into micro-plastics which will be taken up by microorganisms in the soil and then accumulate in larger animals on the reserve.

All too often this is the fate of single-use drink cans and bottles – so please take your rubbish home with you. Throwing away litter when you are out and about can harm wildlife directly and indirectly.

Spot the non-native species….

We covered just one section of the nature reserve and managed to fill 9 big bin bags of rubbish! We also picked up several large containers (one that used to contain bleach!) and fishing and camping gear. Our partners at LLTNP and RSPB were working hard elsewhere in the park to help with the clean up and throughout the rest of Scotland our NNR staff, volunteers and members of the public are also doing their bit – for example check out the Four for the Shore initiative that has just launched at Tentsmuir NNR.

If this post has got you riled up and you’re now raring to get out there and organise your own litter pick then here are some resources to help you get started – how to organise a beach clean and organise a local litter pick. Or find one that is already happening – here!

Our volunteers were great and despite the grim and messy work, spirits were kept high and we enjoyed the sunshine.

But the day was a reminder that we each have a responsibility to make sure that our rubbish doesn’t end up here so please act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors and take your rubbish home with you!

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