Here’s how to get involved in the Great Borders River Clean

Melrose teacher Tom Rawson won the 2019 Tweed Forum River Champion Award. (Photo: Paul Dodds).
Melrose teacher Tom Rawson won the 2019 Tweed Forum River Champion Award. (Photo: Paul Dodds).

Tom Rawson, a teacher at St. Mary’s School in Melrose and winner of this year’s Tweed Forum River Champion Award, is calling on people from across the Borders to join a mass effort to help clean plastic pollution from the region’s waterways.

On Sunday, October 27, towns and villages on rivers and streams across the Scottish Borders will take part in the Great Borders River Clean. The aim is to engage riverside communities across the entire Tweed catchment in a synchronised river clean to highlight the issue of plastic pollution on our rivers and waterways.

Tom said: “Plastic pollution is a real issue, we are the cause of it and it is our problem to solve.

“We have all seen images of beaches in Bali covered in rubbish or albatross chicks in the South Atlantic feeding plastic pieces to their chicks but how often do we look to see the damage done to our own streams and rivers?

“We need to realise that plastic pollution affects us all. The 7Towns1River clean (2.2 tons collected by 196 people) in April was a real success and I would like to do everything in my power to keep this issue in the public eye.

“There will be organised cleans in over 20 Borders towns on six different rivers for you to join. Alternatively, you and your family can do your own litter pick on your local stream or river.”

The Great Borders River Clean is part of a broader effort to reduce the use of single-use plastics across the Scottish Borders.

Tom’s school was the first primary school in Scotland to successfully eliminate single-use plastics and the town is also making good progress to reduce plastic consumption becoming one of Scotland’s first towns to be accredited as a “Plastic Free Community” by the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Tom can be contacted directly at trawson@stmarysmelrose.org.uk if you would like to be involved in the Great Borders River Clean.