Shetland’s biggest environmental effort, Da Voar Redd Up, is being staged at the weekend for the 29th time.
Originally launched in 1988, the event quickly became the largest community based voluntary clear-up throughout the UK, with over 20 per cent of the isles population regularly volunteering.
Last year 4,572 participants volunteered more than 17,602 man hours to collect over 58 tonnes of bruck. Since 1988 over 1,700 tonnes have been cleaned from Shetland’s roadside verges, beaches and coastline.
The scheme is run by Shetland Amenity Trust, whose environmental improvement project officer Colin Bragg hailed its success.
He said: “Da Voar Redd Up 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, 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 event sponsors, Augean North Sea Services (ANSS) and World Animal Protection, which will enhance the project’s already excellent environmental credentials and raise awareness of animal protection issues caused by waste.
The trust is also delighted that BP Sullom Voe has continued its long-term support for the event.
ANSS serves the North Sea oil and gas industry by providing waste management solutions. Based at the Greenhead in Lerwick, it has recently invested in new recycling machinery to cover new waste streams, including plastic. Augean will be recycling plastic, ropes and netting collected during this year’s redd up.
World Animal Protection works with governments, industry and members of the public to implement sustainable solutions for a future free from ghost fishing litter.
Mr Bragg said: “Ghost fishing gear is everything that is lost or discarded as part of the fishing industry and it is one of the biggest threats to animals in our oceans, as well as causing significant damage to fishing vessels and equipment.
“A staggering 640,000 tonnes of discarded fishing gear is left in our oceans each year, entangling around 136,000 seals and whales globally.
“So far they have been focusing in Cornwall and the west coast of Scotland to identify UK hotspots for fishing litter to pilot solution projects to replicate globally. They are now looking to Shetland and Orkney to see if these are litter hotspots too.”
Groups have been asked to help World Animal Protection evidence the problem by uploading their ghost gear sightings from this year’s redd up to www.worldanimalprotection.org/seachange.
Mr Bragg said the trust would like to thank organisations who have supported this year’s redd up, including Shetland Charitable Trust, Shetland Islands Council, Augean North Sea Services, World Animal Protection, BP Sullom Voe and GTS (for the generous discount on gloves for redd up volunteers).
The trust is also asking drivers to take extra caution this weekend as there will be groups of volunteers working on roadsides and verges collecting bruck.