Artist uses rubbish dumped in River Almond to create deterrent

Rubbish found in the River Almond has been transformed into artwork to showcase the impact of dumping waste in our rivers.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 12:18 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 12:23 pm
Annie Lord created a striking piece of art from the rubbish. Picture: Neil Hanna

Edinburgh visual artist Annie Lord used everything from Tennent’s cans to wet wipes and more to create a striking piece encased in resin.

What at first appears to be a depiction of riverbank nature is on closer inspection revealed to be reclaimed rubbish in disguise.

Displayed at the Almondell and Calderwood Country Park Centre, River Series: Almond it is hoped it will encourage visitors to think twice when it comes to dealing with our rubbish.

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Annie said: “Like many people I was completely unaware of the extent to which rivers are being filled with wet wipes and other rubbish.

“Seeing the volume collected in such a small area really brought the message home.

Working with the intrepid volunteers from local angling groups and Friends of the Country Park we used some of the ‘best’ items to draw awareness to the fact that what people mistakenly flush they can meet again later on their 

“I’m delighted with the energy and enthusiasm these volunteers brought to RiverRubbish workshops and I have looked to channel that in the creation of River Series: Almond.”

RiverRubbish is part of the RiverLife Project – a four year plan to reconnect communities along the River Almond and River Avon with their rivers.

This season’s project has been based at the Almondell and Calderwood Country Park, which has been battling the ongoing issue of wet wipes being caught in low hanging tree branches. This not only highlights the sewage litter issue but also can ruin visitors’ walks by interrupting the natural beauty of the park.

Throughout September a team of intrepid volunteers from local angling groups and the Friends of the Country Park collected an astonishing 1,384 items from just 100 meters of river bank.

The vast majority of collected items were wet wipes and sanitary products that people had mistakenly thought were flushable and had come out of the sewage works into the river during an all too common overflow event.

Forth Rivers Trust director Alison Baker said: “RiverRubbish perfectly encapsulates the challenges and opportunities we have with our rivers.

“While the levels of rubbish seen in the River Almond can be disheartening and symptomatic of the wider issues of waste management, the willingness, commitment and care shown by local communities points the way forward for creating a new relationship with our rivers.

“Annie Lord’s work on this project is an important step in this process and I’m delighted with how her work and approach has captured the interest and imagination of local community members along this stretch of the River Almond.”