GREEN-MINDED volunteers in South Ayrshire have bagged more than three quarters of a million discarded items since January.

The South Ayrshire Clean-Up Campaign, which started at the beginning of this year, aims to collect a million pieces of litter before 2022 begins – and the team is well on their way.

Christopher Johnson, Campaign founder, from Prestwick, said: “The million-piece campaign has demonstrated that litter-picking is an effective part of the solution, but our data also shows that tackling litter is a collective responsibility.

“It is too easy to point fingers at public authorities, when the reality is that it is our own neighbours who are making the mess, including businesses.

“The impact of litter is devastating to our ecosystems, and should also be considered theft when the full scale of the clean-up operation required by both public authorities and private landowners is calculated.”

Volunteers have so far removed 756,949 pieces of litter, from Barassie to Ballantrae, and Loch Braden to Lochside.

Most of the activity has been led by individual action, with volunteers logging the litter they collect with the campaign at

More than 1,250 separate picks have been recorded, with an average of around 500 pieces removed each time.

The success of the campaign is down to the commitment of an incredible range of volunteers across South Ayrshire.

Maybole Community Clean Up team has contributed over 100,000 pieces to the campaign, while Troon Litter Crew’s Netta Kennedy was recently recognised for a national award by Keep Scotland Beautiful for her dedication to looking after the town.

There have been group picks too, including along the coast at Dunure, and a series of picks hosted by Don’t Trash Ayr at Heathfield Retail Park, which saw more than 40,000 pieces removed.

The campaign is also helping to demonstrate just how anti-social littering is.

Data in the first six months revealed that an equivalent of five pieces of litter had been dropped for every single resident in Prestwick, whilst ang average of around 150 pieces of litter have been removed from the Gardenrose area of Maybole each day.

The campaign has received support from South Ayrshire Council’s Neighbourhood Services team, who have provided groups and individuals with equipment, arranged special collections of group picks, and even supported enforcement action following leads from volunteers.

Data collected during the campaign has shown that cigarettes are found in 97 per cent of picks. 

Around 84 per cent of picks have included Covid-related PPE including disposable facemasks.

Certain brands such as Lucozade and McDonalds feature heavily in the litter collected, and volunteers at Heathfield Retail Park even uncovered evidence of retailers carelessly disposing of their out-of-date promotional materials.

Despite this, volunteers continue to remain upbeat, with members of Girvan’s Town Action Group observing a reduction in littering across the town, and continued interest in the progress of the campaign.

The campaign aims to collect 250,000 more pieces of litter in the final quarter of the year.

To achieve that by the end of December, volunteers must remove over 14,000 pieces of litter each week from now until then.

Full details on how to get involved are on the Campaign’s Facebook page.