An anti-plastic pollution group started by a woman from Ayr has gone world-wide and now boasts over 20,000 members from 70 countries around the world.

Paws on Plastic was founded in November 2018 by primary school teacher, Marion Montgomery originally from Ayr, but who now lives in Stonehaven.

The group encourages dog owners to pick up a piece of plastic litter when out on a walk, not only for the benefit of the environment, but also for dogs. Marion says that dogs are attracted to litter, often picking up bottles and cans, but that they can become injured by it, cutting their paws or eating pieces.

“We’ve had another fantastic start to the year!” explained Marion. “January and February have been hectic, welcoming so many new members.

“It shows the real desire among dog owners to protect wildlife and our precious environment from harm.

“As awareness of the horrendous impact of plastic pollution grows, more and more people are looking for ways to combat it.

“Paws on Plastic gives dog owners a simple action they can take which makes a huge difference. I would like to say a huge thank you to our members for all their efforts.

“The strength of Paws on Plastic is its simplicity. Dog owners are already out there walking their dogs every day. We see the litter. We have a spare bag in our pocket and it just takes a second to pick up a couple of pieces.

“No extra time or effort is required yet if we all do our own wee bit, with 20,000 of us, just picking up two pieces of litter on two daily walks, that’s over 80,000 pieces a day, or nearly 30 million a year, although, as you will see, most people pick up more as it is rather addictive. With around 9 million dogs in the UK alone, imagine the impact if we all did our own small bit.”

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We’re delighted that Paws on Plastic has now reached 20,000 members across the globe.

“At a time when we need clean green and blue outside spaces more than ever before Scotland is facing the prospect of a litter emergency.

“Without the support of individual dog walkers and community groups who are committed to cleaning up Scotland, one litter item at a time, the problem could be far worse.”