A Balloch resident is calling on visitors to stop trashing Loch Lomond’s beauty spots – as he labelled the area Litter Land.
Maurice Donohue, accompanied by wife Moira, has spent every morning for the last fortnight tidying up litter left by those flocking to the Bonnie Banks during the summer heatwave.
And as the country marks Love Parks Week, Maurice hopes more will be done to encourage people to bag and bin their rubbish.
He said: “There are so many other issues to address as we try and get back to normality, but we are blighted here in Balloch and around Loch Lomond with issues surrounding litter.
“We have purposely spent the last two weeks going down to the park, especially at the slipway and shoreline of Balloch Park, at 6am to pick up the litter that has been left lying around.
“Sometimes we meet up with another couple in the morning, who help out, but it can take us two hours just to clear one small area of the park.
“There will be various points of view and issues surrounding funding and so on, but on signage about litter and education, more needs to be done. There are very few signs in the park.
“There is also a requirement for some extra bins placed around the park to aid with the disposal of rubbish.
“Forget about Flamingo Land, we already have a theme park in the making. Welcome to Litter Land.”
Maurice continued by explaining that his efforts have given him a new-found admiration for the council staff tasked with tidying up after revellers.
He added: “The greenspace team does a fabulous job with the upkeep of the park, but they should not have to deal with the amount of litter discarded along the beach and water’s edge.
“Being out everyday picking up the litter has given me a little understanding of the problem they face.
“If there was ever a time to support Balloch Park, it has to be now with Love Parks Week.
“But a park is for life, not just for a week.”
Maurice also discovered a burnt-out bin in Balloch, something that concerned Kenny Auld, head of visitor services at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority.
Kenny said: “In this warm weather, please be very careful with regards to barbecues and fires – it doesn’t take much for a fire to get out of control so please stick to a camping stove, raise barbecues off the ground if you must use them, and ensure they are properly extinguished afterwards.
“We are in the midst of a very busy visitor season and, while it is fantastic to see so many people enjoying the national park, there is no doubt that such high numbers do also bring challenges.
“We have worked closely with partner bodies and the police to ensure we were prepared for high visitor numbers this year and we continue to work together to manage challenges.
“As partners, we have more staff on the ground than ever before, including additional rangers, environment officers, wardens and enforcement officers brought in specifically to target litter and traffic hotspots. We have also added additional toilets and bins.
“However, the national park covers a huge area – 720 square miles – so we really need everyone to play their part by leaving no trace of their visit. If there are no bins nearby or bins are full, please take your litter away with you.”
And that sentiment was echoed by local MSP Jackie Baillie.
The Labour member commented: “I understand that people are enjoying the wonderful environment in which we live during this glorious spell of warm weather.
“We are blessed with many outstanding beauty spots in the area.
“But there is no excuse for leaving litter and other waste behind to spoil everyone’s enjoyment.
“It is vitally important that we are all responsible for taking home and binning anything that we take with us on day trips this summer.
“Our community is famous for the stunning natural scenery that it has so let’s all play our part to protect it.”
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