A day long celebration and litter picking effort is Paws on Plastic’s contribution to the Great British Spring Clean – from a community of dog owners removing over 30 million pieces of rubbish every year.
Paws on Plastic, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation comprising 22,000 dog owners in over 70 countries who pledge to pick up a few pieces of litter on their daily walks, held their annual Paws on Plastic Day last week in support of the GB Spring Clean run by Keep Britain Tidy, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Keep Wales Tidy.
Members were asked to make a special effort on top of their everyday litterpicking while walking their dogs, and to post about their efforts on social media in order to encourage more dog owners to join the campaign to protect animals, communities and our precious environment.
The day was launched by some of the trustees and their dogs at an event at Stonehaven Beach, Aberdeenshire where the charity started, after which walks were made along the beach and along the A92 road leading into Stonehaven which experiences a lot of roadside litter which then blows into the adjacent Dunnottar Woods.
The charity began as a Facebook group in November 2018, and was founded by primary school teacher Marion Montgomery in the Scottish coastal town of Stonehaven.
As animals are naturally inclined to investigate discarded rubbish, the group has attracted dog owners who are keen to play their part in fighting plastic pollution. By removing the litter members are helping to protect animals and wildlife both on land and in the sea from injury or illness. They also educate on the consequences of litter and are keen to work with schools and support young people wishing to litterpick as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award efforts.
Since gaining charity status, Marion alongside Paws on Plastic trustees around Scotland have developed a new website and merchandise line and have attended events including the recent Dog Lovers Shows in Aberdeen and Glasgow.
They are now looking forward to the upcoming Kiltwalk and are encouraging members to get involved with fundraising and spreading awareness.
People can get involved and be the first to hear news and updates by registering for official membership via the sign-up form on the website: www.pawsonplastic.org.uk.
Heather McLaughlin, campaign officer with Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: ‘We have been delighted to support Paws on Plastic over the past couple of years. It has been brilliant to see the group grow; supporting and encouraging dog owners to take simple actions to tackle the looming litter emergency, in Scotland and abroad. ‘
Combining positive health benefits with environmental community action, the initiative has received national media attention and been nominated for awards such as the Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Awards and RSPB Scotland’s Nature of Scotland Awards.
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