An Angus conservation group is urging locals to change attitudes to litter before it’s too late.
St Vigeans Conservation Network which has now grown to 150 members and is embarking on its fourth year of voluntary work in and around the historic village on the outskirts of Arbroath.
Chairman Ralph Coutts set up the litter taskforce in response to what he described at the time as “years of neglect” of St Vigeans.
He said educating the next generation was key to protecting the environment and its wildlife in the wider world and locally in the village.
Mr Coutts said the group has now applied for funding to create a portable outside classroom to get the message across to kids “who will inherit the area long after I’m gone”.
Schools and other groups would be invited to come along and help the group study the biodiversity in and around the Brothock Burn.
“One of our biggest challenges is littering and single-use plastics in and around the Brothock Burn,” said Mr Coutts.
“Dog poo on the nature trail is also a big problem with people putting it in bags before leaving it in a beautiful environment.
“I think educating kids who will inherit the area long after I’m gone is the key to protecting the environment and its wildlife in the wider world and locally in St Vigeans.
“When we talk about single-use plastics and other things that pollute our environment it is still the minority who pollute.
“But taking part in clean-ups of waterways and green spaces can help everyone feel a sense of ownership and connection to nature.
“The wildlife and environment put on a show of beauty for free – the least we can do is try to conserve and improve this for future generations.”
Mr Coutts said community groups are integral to its social fibre and can be great for people who feel lonely or people who feel left behind by society.
He said 80% of street litter in Arbroath which isn’t picked up ends up in the sea and that’s something that won’t change without the help of the wider public.
“The way you change it is to get active in the community lead by example and educate others,” he said.
Over the winter the group worked with Stonehaven wildlife artist Andy Wilson to create a new logo after he fell in love with the area.
The group has also been working with Angus Council’s Mhairi Dickson to look at becoming a charity to extend its reach by bringing in more funding.
Mr Coutts said Mhairi’s support has been wonderful and he also praised the help they have been given by the council’s parks department.
St Vigeans Conservation Network first meeting of the year will be on April 1 at 6.30pm at St Vigeans bridge in the village.
Anyone who wants to get involved should visit the Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org