What a sin, not to bin!

April 7, 2022

Scottish schoolchildren enter competition to inspire drivers to stop littering

School children in the South East of Scotland have unleashed their artistic side through a competition to inspire drivers to stop littering along the roadside.

BEAR Scotland, which manages the trunk roads in the South East on behalf of Transport Scotland, organised the ‘Trunk not Junk’ schools litter competition to coincide with this year’s ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’ Spring Clean campaign. Over 650 primary schools were invited to submit a poster, slogan, song or rap encouraging people not to litter on Scotland’s trunk roads.

The road maintenance company revealed a surprise twist by announcing two winners of its competition, which aimed to get schoolchildren to think about the issues that litter can cause.

Indira Williams aged 11, a P6 pupil at Roslin Primary School, became one of the winners after impressing BEAR Scotland with her ‘What a sin, not to bin’ poster, which highlights the effect that littering can have on local wildlife and the environment.

Colin Burt, P6 teacher at Roslin Primary School, said: “We were delighted to be invited by our school Eco Committee to participate in the Trunk Not Junk schools litter competition. Our Roslin learners are passionate about environmental issues, so they were keen to be involved in raising awareness around this important subject. We are so proud of Indira’s winning entry and look forward to seeing it being used soon as part of the campaign.”

Primary 6 pupils at Colinton Primary School went further, writing and recording a rap titled Litter is a no, no, no’ . The rap includes lines such as ‘see it at the roadside that’s a no, no, no – stop throwing rubbish out of your window’, to make it clear that littering is socially unacceptable and to emphasise issues that can arise from dropping litter, including how long it can take to disintegrate. The rap also gives helpful tips to keep the environment clean including using a reusable bag.

Rachel Billes, P6 teacher at Colinton Primary School, said: “We had so much fun participating in this project and the children really enjoyed unleashing their creativity to help raise awareness of this important issue. It’s essential that we teach children about looking after the environment from a young age so that they understand the impact they can make.”

In 2021, BEAR Scotland collected over 5,000 large black bags of litter and 2,200 large objects on the roadsides in the South-East which it is responsible for litter-picking on. If laid out in a line this would stretch to over 3.6km or over two miles of litter.

BEAR Scotland litter picks the motorways and dual carriageways on the SE trunk road network on a rotating basis weekly with hot spot areas treated twice monthly or as and when required. All other roads are the responsibility of the relevant local authority.

Iain Murray, Managing Director at BEAR Scotland, said: “Every entry that we received sparked joy in the team – we loved to see the children’s creativity as they helped us get this message across. It was so hard to choose just one winner! It’s of paramount importance that we teach children about the negative impact of dropping litter. They’re also powerful in encouraging others to dispose of rubbish properly.

“Dropping litter at the roadside is sadly still a huge issue up and down the country but we’re confident that the efforts of the school children at winning schools, Colinton and Roslin Primary Schools, will help to inspire drivers to take their rubbish home.”

Both winning entries will appear on BEAR Scotland’s social media channels, and the winners will receive certificates as well as £75 worth of amazon vouchers for their classroom.