Public Urged to Help Cut 'Dam' Rubbish

29 June 2020
Aerial shot of where the work is taking place

River Kelvin Investment

An aerial shot of the work that's taking place near the Old Flint Mill.  

Our multi-million pound investment project in Glasgow’s West End to help improve the environment and water quality in the River Kelvin returns to site today, Monday 29 June 2020.

The project which is being delivered by our alliance partner amey Black and Veatch (aBV), was paused in March due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. 

From today, work to install new and improved waste water infrastructure along the River Kelvin will continue on the Kelvin Walkway near to the Old Flint Mill. It will be carried out in line with Scottish government guidelines for the construction industry. 

After a three month break, the need for these improvements has been made even more obvious with lots of items wrongly flushed down the toilet clearly visible at a temporary dam originally erected in November to enable the work.

Rubbish at the temporary dam

Dam Rubbish

Debris, including items which people have wrongly flushed down the toilet, is clearly visible. 

Ruaridh MacGregor, corporate affairs manager in Scottish Water’s west region, said: “The amount of rubbish which has gathered at the temporary dam during the break on this project clearly demonstrates the need for the improvement work to take place. However, it would also be good if people didn’t flush these items in the first place. Products such as wet wipes, cotton wool and cotton buds don’t disintegrate in our network and can cause flooding and environmental issues. We ask everyone to only flush the 3Ps – that’s Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper. Everything else should go in the bin.”

“With 80% of marine litter coming from land, and via drains and waterways it is important that people are aware of the impact of their actions at home on our fragile marine environment.”

Paul Wallace
Campaigns & Social Innovation Manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful

Keep Scotland Beautiful, a charity which encourages people to take action to improve and protect the environment, has echoed these sentiments. Paul Wallace, campaigns and social innovation manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “With 80% of marine litter coming from land, and via drains and waterways it is important that people are aware of the impact of their actions at home on our fragile marine environment.  Our Upstream Battle campaign research highlighted that in the Clyde Valley wet wipes and cotton buds both appeared in the top five most littered items across a number of sites. Our message is simple – only flush pee, poo and paper - if you don’t you may meet it again on your next walk along the river or trip to the beach.”

Local environmental charity Friends of the River Kelvin is an anchor group for Upsteam Battle and its members are keen to see people change their behaviour around what they flush down their toilets and drains. Chairperson, Sally Johnston, said: "These wipes, dental floss, cotton buds and personal hygiene products belong in the bin and not in the River Kelvin, on its banks choking plants, animals and our oceans. Putting an extra bin in your bathroom and recycling at point of use can make a huge difference to our beautiful rivers and waterways." 

New infrastructure being installed at eleven locations along the River Kelvin will help prevent items which are wrongly flushed down the toilet – items like rags, baby wipes, plastic cotton buds, etc. - from overflowing into the River Kelvin during severe storm events and reduce the frequency and volume of waste water spillages in storm conditions.