Glasgow volunteers' city clean-up for Earth Day

Litter-pickers are out in force in Glasgow for Earth Day today [APRIL 22], as the movement to clean up the city gathers momentum.

Local groups are working closer together now, determined to ‘green’ a city that will host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

During lockdown, street-cleansing services in the city were reduced while green spaces grew in popularity. But the mounting litter problem has galvanised local volunteers into action.

Bin Twinning’s Laura Young, a sustainability influencer based in the Glasgow area, has had many more invites to talk to local groups keen to take practical action recently. These include City of Glasgow College, who were planning a litter-pick on Earth Day, and Sustainable Strathclyde Student Society (University of Strathclyde) who encouraged students to collect litter in lockdown and who will be promoting sustainable living on campus this week.

‘Lockdowns have forced us all to become more local but that also means we’ve learnt to appreciate our green spaces,’ says Laura, who will be out litter-picking today. ‘Local activism is growing too with street WhatsApp groups and community Facebook pages becoming more popular and linking like-minded people. And there’s a great deal of pride and environmental awareness growing with COP26 which has pushed care of the environment up people’s agenda.’

The Bin Twinning campaign raises funds for social enterprises starting up bin collection and recycling projects in low-income countries. More than 90 bins have been ‘twinned’ in Glasgow since the campaign launched in September – and now bear a sticker showing the overseas project they’re linked with. The campaign has been encouraging supporters to litter-pick today.

Someone else who intends to litter-pick for Earth Day is chef Charlie O’Donnell. He took up litter-picking when he was furloughed in the first lockdown and started taking long walks to keep fit.

‘I started going to areas of Glasgow I hadn’t been to or seen in a while, finding lots of abandoned places and beautiful buildings in ruins. The one constant was litter, even in the most remote places. So I just started picking up rubbish and putting it into bin bags. It’s just became a good way to spend time with a friend and put our energy to good use. I genuinely feel that the movement has grown into a full-blown effort to clean up the city.’

The Glasgow Community Clean Up Project began with a lone litter-picker in December but now works with other clean-up groups to rally volunteers for initiatives such as the recent Glasgow Spring Clean 2021 on 10 April. It is planning a litter-pick in the Applecross Wharf area of the Glasgow/Clyde Canal on Saturday.

‘It would be amazing to see Glasgow litter-free but there are so many factors that feed into littering that will require a lot of work to be addressed,’ a spokesperson says. ‘Our project exists to encourage anyone and everyone to go out and do even a small bit to help out.’