The second Great Borders River Clean at the weekend was a huge success despite the weather and high river levels.
More than 450 volunteers collected more than two tons of rubbish.
This was a remarkable amount considering that most of the heavy items like car tyres and scrap metal are still under several feet of floodwater.
The amount recovered was a real testament to the determination of all involved to remove as much rubbish as possible from the riverbanks.
Interesting finds included an intact fishing rod and a broken kayak as well as the usual detritus of our modern lives; bottles, plastic toys, clothing and hundreds of thousands of wet wipes. These latter are being discharged with raw sewage into the rivers on a regular basis.
Organiser Tom Rawson said: ‘I was absolutely delighted by the number of enthusiastic volunteers willing to sacrifice their precious free time and to brave the awful weather to help tackle the massive problem of plastic pollution on our region’s rivers and burns.
‘In spite of the snow and storms, hundreds of people turned out in their towns and villages to both clear rubbish and to help highlight this insidious problem. Thank you so much to all those amazing people who helped out over the weekend.’
Tom aims to repeat the event in the late-autumn and plans for the Great Borders River Clean to be a regular bi-annual event over the next few years.
He added: ‘Events like the Great Borders River Clean are as much about spreading the message of reducing littering and single-use plastic consumption as they are about removing their effects from the natural environment. A number of towns are planning follow-up events to be held when the river levels drop down again.’