Boom to be installed in River Clyde to stop litter heading to sea

A boom is to be built on the River Clyde to net plastic and litter pollution before it heads downstream towards the ocean.

Glasgow City Council will remove, weigh, and analyse litter caught in the boom to identify the most common types of litter in the river.

The council has teamed up with Marine Scotland, SEPA, and Peel Ports to deliver the one-year pilot project. It will aim to reduce litter being swept to places like Arrochar Litter Sink, which is a spot where winds and tides deliver large amounts of rubbish.

Marine Scotland believes litter on the Arrochar foreshore comes equally from the Irish Sea and the River Clyde. In total, they deliver about 62,000 items of litter mixed with seaweed onto the shore each year. The seaweed was previously used as garden fertiliser by local residents, but it is now so contaminated with litter that it is no longer possible.

The boom will be made of steel mesh panels on suspended floats, which the local authority said will not impede the passage of fish or other wildlife. A best location for the boom has not yet been identified, but the council confirmed it will be below the weir and will not cross the deepest part of the river channel which is used by boats.

Example of a boom (Shutterstock)

Councillor Angus Millar, Glasgow’s climate convener, said, “Marine litter damages the environment and can harm wildlife. Removing it from the Clyde using passive technology like a boom is an environmentally friendly way to tackle the problem. The project will not only benefit Glasgow, local wildlife and migrating fish, it will also help reduce the levels of rubbish reaching destinations downstream – including the Arrochar foreshore.

“The council supports Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Upstream Battle campaign and if the boom is successful, it will become a permanent feature on the Clyde. Hopefully this project will spark a ripple effect and inspire other towns and villages along the Clyde to do something similar, further reducing the amount of litter which is washed downstream and the levels of microplastics in our waterways.”