A NEW campaign aimed at tackling marine litter at source has been launched with Helensburgh residents encouraged to play their part in keeping rivers and lochs clean.

Upstream Battle is the first ‘source to sea’ campaign of its kind in Scotland and is raising awareness of the fact that 80 per cent of litter in the sea comes from the land. Organisers hope to inspire communities and businesses along the Clyde to take action.

The initiative, launched by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with RECOUP, comes as new research reveals that 88 per cent of people across Scotland are concerned by the extent of litter pollution in rivers.

Helensburgh and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie has welcomed the scheme and invited people to get involved in a range of activities which will be taking place across the entire length of the River Clyde.

She said: “Marine litter can be a real blight on the communities on the edge of the river Clyde.

“Communities in my own constituency have found marine litter has had an impact on the local tourist trade.

“I am delighted that this campaign aims to educate people about the problems that litter can have on the Clyde and hope that we can start to tackle marine litter head on.”

The Upstream Battle campaign is backed by a range of high-profile ambassadors, organisations and funders, including the renowned Blue Planet cameraman, Doug Allan.

He added: “It’s hugely satisfying to see the part that the Blue Planet 2 series has played in heightening awareness of this devastating problem for the marine environment. I’m equally proud that it’s my native Scotland that’s setting the pace in recognising the scale of the problem and taking practical steps to address it.

“It’s never been more important to look after our planet. What we do on land directly affects the health of our rivers and our seas and everything that lives in them. It’s time to get serious about the source of marine litter, and I’m delighted to be supporting Upstream Battle.”

Keep Scotland Beautiful will co-ordinate three distinct strands of activity during the campaign, which will focus on raising awareness and inspiring action, including significant community engagement with groups along the Clyde valley, a ‘citizen science’ project to empower people to clean up and identify the litter along the banks of their local river and a schools programme to help educate young people about the path litter takes from source to sea.

Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “Our research clearly shows that people across Scotland are deeply concerned by the amount of litter finding its way into our rivers and oceans, and now is the time to take action.

“This 18-month campaign will raise awareness of the scale of the problem and motivate people to play their part in tackling it. In the end, this is about changing behaviour – we need to think differently about litter and how we dispose of it.

“The evidence is clear – the drinks bottle or crisp packet discarded in our streets has a fair chance of ending up in our river and polluting the ocean. That has to stop, it’s time to look after our rivers and protect our seas.”

Find out more about how to take part in the campaign by visiting www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/upstreambattle.