Plastic fishing boat tour to highlight pollution in Scotland’s waters

The boat launched on the canal at the Falkirk Wheel Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

A plastic fishing boat will travel around Scotland to raise awareness of pollution in the country’s waters.

Created by environmental charity Hubbub, the 12-seater punt – made of 99% recycled plastic and called the Poly Roger – will take people on trips to highlight the growing issue in rivers and canals.

The one-week tour will be launching on Tuesday at Falkirk Wheel, before heading on to Kirkintilloch Marina, Maryhill and Dalmuir-Bowling Beach.

Gavin Ellis, director of Hubbub, said: “The pictures we’ve received from all over the country have shown how widespread the problem of plastic pollution is and it’s clear there is a strong desire from the public to help keep their local areas clean and safe for wildlife.

“We’ve seen the difference that plastic fishing has made in London, where we’ve taken 1,415 people out on trips and collected 162kg from the London Docklands.

“We’re really looking forward to visiting Scotland as part of our Plastic Fishing Tour which will help clean-up local waterways also remind people of the importance of recycling the plastic we use in our everyday lives.”

Scottish Canals will be supporting the plastic fishing trips and will also be organising paddle pick-ups along the route to target litter in the water.

The boat has been built from materials collected on previous tours, with plans to build a litter-busting fleet across the UK.

It is only the third boat of its kind in the world and the first to launch outside of London.

Olivia Lassiere, environment manager at Scottish Canals, said: “Littering and fly tipping can be a real issue on Scotland’s canals, particularly in urban areas.

“Last year our staff and hundreds of volunteers collected more than a tonne of litter from the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals alone.

“By launching the Poly Roger’s tour of Scotland’s canals at The Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat lift, we hope we can kick-start a recycling revolution.

“I’d encourage everyone to get involved and help us care for the incredible environments of the nation’s waterways.”

Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, added: “Our research shows that litter levels in Scotland are at their worst in a decade and clearly shows that people across Scotland are deeply concerned by the amount of litter finding its way from land into our rivers and oceans, and now is the time to take action.”