Pupils wage war on litter

SCHOOLCHILDREN followed in the footsteps of Roman soldiers this week – but instead of Caledonians, they declared war on pesky litter.

Around 20 pupils and staff from Deanburn Primary School in Bo’ness took part in a clean-up near the line of the historic Roman Antonine Wall.

Wednesday’s litter-pick, in the town’s Kinneil Estate, was part of a series of events around the historic Roman frontier to mark the start of National Spring Clean 2009.

The month-long initiative is organised by Keep Scotland Beautiful with the support of local councils and community groups.

Bo’ness Councillor Adrian Mahoney joined council staff and community representatives to help the pupils do a clean-sweep through Kinneil.

Councillor Mahoney, Falkirk’s Council’s parks convener, said: “The Deanburn pupils did a great job and collected dozens of bottles, cans and plastic bags that were blighting areas of the park. Keeping our parks litter-free is a constant battle and I’d urge everyone to take litter home with them after days out – and to get involved in clean-ups if they can.

“I’d like to thank the children from Deanburn for all their hard work. They collected around 40 bags of rubbish, which is quite an achievement. Hopefully we can all follow in their footsteps during this year’s National Spring Clean.”

Kinneil Estate will become the focus of a larger clean-up on Sunday, April 19, when The Friends of Kinneil, Bo’ness Community Council and Bonnie Bo’ness will join forces for a combined litter-pick. Full details are on the Kinneil website – www.kinneil.org.uk

A spokesperson for Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “The Antonine Wall was once the north western frontier of the Roman Empire, but today, it provided the starting point of a battle – one against the litter which is blighting open spaces across Scotland.

“Many groups already take part in voluntary clean ups during the year, but National Spring Clean provides an opportunity for schools, youth clubs, voluntary groups, communities, businesses and individuals to play an important part in a bigger, coordinated campaign.”

Last year around 20,000 volunterrs took part in clean-up events across Scotland.

The spokesperson added: “This year Keep Scotland Beautiful hopes thousands more people will don their bright yellow tabards and venture out to pick up some litter from an area near them as part of this military operation. Already over 30,000 have signed up.”

Anyone interested in organising a clean-up in their area should go online and register at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/springclean

The turf Antonine Wall is the largest relic of the Roman occupation of Scotland. Built around AD142, on the orders of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, it marked the northern border to the Roman Empire and was constructed as a defence against the northern tribes.

It stretched from Bo’ness on the Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the Clyde, and nearly 40 miles long. Unlike the stone-built Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall consisted of a rampant of soil faced with turf, resting on a stone foundation. It originally stood 12 feet high, and was protected on the north side by a V-shaped ditch that was 40 feet wide and 12 feet deep.

In Bo’ness, most of the Wall has been flattened out, but remains can still be seen at the Roman fortlet within Kinneil Estate. Relics are also on show at Kinneil Museum.

Find out more about the Wall at www.falkirkonline.net/antoninewall