An Edinburgh woman has received the prestigious Clean Up Scotland “hero of the month” award in recognition of her persistent efforts to pick up litter in the Pentlands.
The award is part of the national Clean Up Scotland campaign, organised by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Janet Clark, a member of the Friends of the Pentlands community group, has worked for more than eight years to help protect and enhance the natural beauty of the local area.
As a result of her infectious enthusiasm, Janet has managed to inspire significant numbers of local volunteers who now join her twice a month on organised litter picks.
In this time Janet and her team of volunteers have collected a significant amount of debris, removing 300 black bags of rubbish in 2015 alone – including ten whole frozen salmon and 40 bags of broken porcelain from someone’s old bathroom.
The Clean Up Scotland Hero award is supported by Helping Hand Environmental which provides each Hero with a Clean Up kit – including a new Scottish litter picker and handy hoop. Janet said: “I am really pleased to receive this award on behalf of the team. Friends of the Pentlands aims to protect and enhance the natural features of the area and carry out environmental projects that improve public access and biodiversity.
“Picking up litter in the Pentlands is a very important part of our work.
“The best thing about litter-picking is that it is impossible to do it wrong or badly. There aren’t many jobs like that, so it is easy to encourage others to join in, because every single thing they pick up makes a difference.
“It’s fun in winter to ‘bottom-out’ the thick hedges before the vegetation grows up, fun in summer to see what interesting things might have been abandoned, and fun at all times to leave a place looking a lot better than it was before. Best job in the world, really! And finding a place clean encourages others to leave it like that.“
David Pritchard, from Friends of the Pentlands, said: “For several years Janet has been a stalwart litter picker for the Friends of the Pentlands.
“Janet organises our sessions which involves collecting and returning the equipment. The job is unglamorous but important to the smooth running of the litter team.
“The most appalling weather does not deter her and her dynamism and enthusiasm affects all of us. Janet specialises in collecting litter from the most inaccessible places. We are lucky to have her as litter team leader.”
Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “I would like to congratulate Janet for her unwavering commitment. Her efforts help to demonstrate that volunteer involvement in local initiatives can deliver significant environmental enhancement, as well as going a long way towards creating more community spirit.”