Scottish Daily Mail

Sports chiefs back the war on bottles

- By Rachel Watson Deputy Scottish Political Editor

OUTDOOR and sporting enthusiast­s have made a direct plea to the Scottish Government to rid the country of the scourge of discarded bottles and cans.

Eleven organisati­ons last night sent a joint letter to Environmen­t Secretary Roseanna Cunningham calling for a bottle deposit scheme.

The groups, which have united to back the Scottish Daily Mail’s Banish The Bottles campaign, said that as well as being ‘unsightly’ litter ‘poses a direct threat’ to those enjoying the outdoors. Their letter points out the danger faced by swimmers, cyclists, walkers, surfers, horse riders and ramblers from sharpened plastic or broken glass left by others.

Organisati­ons that have signed the letter include Surfers Against Sewage, Backcountr­, Wild Planet Explorers, Triathlon Scotland, Mountainee­ring Scotland and the British Horse Society.

The letter states: ‘Although all empty drinks containers are unsightly in our natural environmen­t, we share particular concern about plastic and glass bottles.

‘Broken glass poses a direct threat to us, our learners or to our equipment, or indeed to our horses. We know the problem is getting worse every year, and we also know about the benefits deposit return systems have brought elsewhere in terms of a reduction in litter.

‘We would therefore urge you, as the responsibl­e minister, to move quickly to establish a system of this sort for Scotland.’

Last week the Scottish Daily Mail launched a campaign to Banish the Bottles, calling on the Government to introduce a bottle deposit system to help clean up beaches, the countrysid­e and streets.

The initiative would see customers pay between 5p and 10p extra on all bottles or cans they buy, but they would get the money back if they return the empty containers to stores and supermarke­ts. The campaign has so far gained crossparty support at Holyrood, with the environmen­t committee setting up a special task force to investigat­e whether or not a deposit return scheme on bottles and cans will clean up the country.

Hundreds of people have gone online to sign a petition urging the Government to introduce the system, while businesses across Scotland have also backed the bid.

Joanna McFarlane runs Wild Planet Explorers in Fife and holds wildlife and outdoor learning classes for children.

She said: ‘Deposit return systems are effective in many countries in all but eliminatin­g the littering of bottles and cans.

‘All of us – but especially children – should have the opportunit­y to enjoy a litter-free world.’

Edinburgh Triathlete­s, which organises triathlon events across the capital and surroundin­g area, has also backed the campaign.

The group said: ‘As a club affiliated with Triathlon Scotland, we run our races under their rules, which include disqualifi­cation for competitor­s caught littering.

‘A deposit return system would help us all to reduce our sport’s impact on the environmen­t.’

Another organisati­on which has signed the letter is Learning for Sustainabi­lity Scotland.

A spokesman for the group said: ‘Taking action on returning drinks containers will increase learning and awareness on waste.’

Meanwhile, a deposit scheme for plastic bottles is set to be rejected by ministers in England despite evidence it could reduce litter and boost recycling rates.

Keep Britain Tidy said the decision was ‘astonishin­g’.

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