Plastic Free Helensburgh on a Mission for Nature Calls

28 June 2022
Volunteers with bags of rubbish collected on Craigendoran Beach

Job Done

Volunteers with bags of rubbish collected from Craigendoran Beach near Helensburgh

Local campaigners and American missionaries are backing Scottish Water’s campaign to ban wipes that contain plastic.


‘Nature Calls’ is asking the people of Scotland to bin wet wipes and other bathroom detritus to protect the environment.


A team of Scottish Water volunteers joined Plastic Free Helensburgh (PFH) and a group from South Carolina on a litter-pick at Craigendoran Beach to highlight the damage plastics cause the environment.


Elizabeth Lambert from PFH has been litter picking in the area for 15 years. She said: “When I started picking it was bigger things like bottles but now at least half seems to be toilet-related – wet wipes, sanitary towels and even toilet fresheners.


“I think people don’t realise there is a problem, and that having a bin in the bathroom is the responsible thing to do.


“We don’t want to keep clearing up other people’s mess and it is certainly not something I want to spend every weekend of the next 15 years doing, so if people could stop flushing these items that would be great.”


Pastor Phil Stogner from Glasgow City Free Church is hosting the visiting missionaries in partnership with the Hope Community Church in Helensburgh. He said: “We aim to be good stewards of the Earth and so clean water, clean shores, clean world, that’s what we are all about.


“We live in a beautiful world so let’s keep it so, let’s help preserve it but also beautify the community.


“We are actually contributing, not just whining about it. We are actually doing something about it – it is small, but it is very fulfilling.”

Volunteers picking litter on Craigendoran Beach

Volunteers on Craigendoran Beach

Rubbish collected on Craigendoran Beach

Washed-up rubbish

Scottish Water invests more than £600m annually on water and waste water services and last year announced plans for a £500m programme to enhance the water system across Scotland in its new Urban Waters Routemap.


This will include monitoring at Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO’s) which effectively act as release valves during periods of heavy rain.


Lorne Cook is the local waste water asset planner for Scottish Water. He said everyone has a duty to look after the environment: “It is quite phenomenal what gets washed up on the beach at high tide. Wet wipes and other non-perishable items cause blockages in our pipe network.


“During periods of heavy rain and severe weather these blocked sewers cannot cope, and they spill into our rivers, seas and communities.


“If we can remove anything that is not biodegradable or flushable then that will certainly help the environment.”


Elizabeth Lambert added: “There is so much we can do as individuals by being careful about what we flush.


“But a ban on wipes containing plastic would be a huge step forward to becoming a more responsible and environmentally aware society and that can only benefit the planet and all who live on it.”


People can back the ban by adding their name and email to the supporters list at www.JoinTheWave.Scot/Ban