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Campaign urges dog walkers to pick up litter on every hike

family dog walking
Dog walkers are urged to pick up litter on every hike (Image credit: Getty Images)

Dog walkers are being urged to pick up litter to support a Paws on Plastic initiative throughout May.

The animal welfare charity, the Scottish SPCA, is adding its weight to the campaign after an increase of 17% in calls about litter in the first three months of this year, compared to 2020.

There were 118 issues reported involving animals and discarded rubbish from January to March 2021.

In addition, environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, has recently warned of a looming litter emergency with data showing an 111% increase in significantly littered sites since 2007.

Paws on Plastic is calling for dog walkers to pick up at leats two items of litter during every hike.

litter face mask

Litter - such as face masks - is a growing issue (Image credit: Getty Images)

Paws for Plastic dog walking initiative

Non-profit enterprise Paws on Plastic was started by environmental enthusiast Marion Montgomery in a bid to combat the harmful effects of litter and, in particular, plastic.

There are now more than 20,000 Paws on Plastic members worldwide. Marion said: " “I started Paws on Plastic to help protect animals from the dangers of litter. As a responsible dog owner, I was walking my dogs with spare poo bags in my pocket and often noticed the same pieces of rubbish every day. 

“It came to me that if I removed it, it made a difference and it could save a life. It’s just fantastic that so many dog owners have joined the cause and wish to do their own wee bit to protect animals and our precious environment.

“The beauty of it is that it only takes a minute when we’re out walking anyway but with 20,000 of us, it really does add up – to more than 30 million pieces a year in fact!.

“Our aim is that it becomes just a normal part of an everyday dog walk. All we ask is for a couple of pieces on every walk so it only takes a minute and is open to everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.

“The bonus is that it has a double effect as studies show that when streets are clean, less litter is actually dropped as you remove the easy excuse that ‘everyone does it’. 

“I’d encourage all dog owners across Scotland to join us on their daily walks.”

Fiona Russell

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.