THIS WEEKEND sees Shetland’s biggest environmental clear-up, Da Voar Redd Up, take place for the 29th occasion.
The event was launched in 1988 and swiftly became the largest community-based voluntary clear-up in the UK – with over a fifth of the isles’ population regularly volunteering.
Last year 4,572 participants gave up a collective 17,602 hours to collect more than 58 tonnes of bruck. The past 28 years have seen over 1,700 tonnes cleaned from roadside verges, beaches and coastline.
Shetland Amenity Trust’s Colin Bragg said its success “relies on the incredible hard work and commitment of thousands of volunteers, and judging by the number of groups registered for this weekend’s redd up this year will be no different”.
“Retaining such collective enthusiasm for an event in its 29th year is nothing short of phenomenal,” he said, “and it is something that Shetlanders should be incredibly proud of.
“We are really looking forward to seeing every generation of the Shetland community dedicating their time this weekend to preserve and improve their environment. And we hope everyone taking part enjoys the experience.”
This year the amenity trust has teamed up with two new sponsors, Augean North Sea Services (ANSS) and World Animal Protection, to “enhance the redd up’s already excellent environmental credentials” and raise awareness of animal protection. BP at Sullom Voe is also continuing its long-term support of the event.
Based at Lerwick’s Greenhead, ANSS provides waste management services to the North Sea oil and gas industry. It recently invested in new recycling machinery and will be recycling plastic, ropes and netting collected this year.
World Animal Protection works to find solutions to “ghost fishing gear” – everything that is lost or discarded at sea by the industry. Some 640,000 tonnes of discarded fishing gear is left in the ocean every year, entangling around 136,000 seals and whales globally.
So far the organisation has been focusing on Cornwall and the west coast of Scotland to find “hotspots” for fishing litter, and it is now looking to Shetland and Orkney.
Redd up groups are being asked to provide evidence to World Animal Protection by uploading sightings of “ghost gear” to www.worldanimalprotection.org/seachange.
The amenity trust is asking drivers to take extra caution this weekend, as there will be groups of volunteers collecting bruck on roadsides and verges.