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Photo of the Riverside Museum with a blue sky in the background. The building's visible wall is entirely glass, with a jagged metal framework outline.
Riverside Museum, Glasgow

News: Pupils challenged to design new ways of tackling Clyde sea litter

Posted 27 September, 2022 by Nina Joynson. Image: Ronnie Macdonald, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

West of Scotland school pupils have been tasked with engineering new and innovative ways of reducing sea litter in and around the River Clyde.

The STEM the Flow campaign asks young people to tackle the issue of Source to Sea litter through an engineering-based design challenge. 

Open to pupils from Primary 6 to S3 in the eight local authorities that comprise the West Partnership, teams can choose to look at ways of collecting litter that is already in the Clyde, or ways of preventing it from entering waterways in the first place. 

Marine pollution

It's estimated that over 12.7 million tonnes of plastic is dumped in the sea annually, impacting our own food and air quality and threatening native habitats and killing wildlife. Sea litter also contributes to climate change, with greater production of greenhouse gases due to damaged ecosystems.

Led by Keep Scotland Beautiful, young people are encouraged to investigate the issue in their school grounds or local area and collect evidence to inform their solutions. 

The challenge is open from October 2022 until February 2023, when teams will be invited to showcase their projects at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum for a judging panel and the general public.

Industry insights

STEM the Flow is supported by Scottish Water, BAE Systems and Jacobs Engineering, who will lead workshops and provide professional advice to the young people as they work on their projects. 

Jaimie Cunningham, STEM Development Officer, Glasgow City Council, said:

“STEM the Flow is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to apply their engineering and problem solving skills to real life problems. They get to interact and work with STEM professionals and gain an insight into hitherto unknown careers in industry – helping them see that their opportunities and options in STEM really are innumerable.”

The challenge is part of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Upstream Battle initiative, which focuses on changing littering behaviours to reduce marine pollution. The initiative offers a catalogue of resources to build young people’s awareness of sea litter, with learning programmes for both educators and children. 

STEM the Flow is open to school pupils across East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Click here to learn more about STEM the Flow

Damage to environment children's top concern in report for Crown Estate Scotland

14 May 2020

Children and young people's views on the environment have been captured in a new report for Crown Estate Scotland published today.

Click here to download and read the report

Last year Children in Scotland was commissioned by the Crown Estate to ensure that the voices of children and young people are reflected in Crown Estate Scotland’s plan for 2020-23.

The views of seven to 25 year olds on Scotland's land, seabed and coast were gathered through direct sessions and an online survey during November and December 2019. Engagement work took place in three local authority areas – Midlothian, Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire.

Young people raised concerns about marine pollution; efforts to protect the natural environment; animal welfare; and the need for communities to be heard in the debate about environmental protection. 

As part of the work, we also made some recommendations to the Crown Estate Scotland about how it could meaningfully engage with children and young people in the future.

These included developing a more accessible Corporate Plan; encouraging young people to apply to be non-executive board members; and partnering with children and young people-focused organisations. 

Jane Miller, Policy and Participation Officer, who led the project alongside Elaine Kerridge, Policy Manger (Participation & Engagement), said:

“Through this work children and young people highlighted their concerns and worries about damage to the environment and the impact that this has on how they were feeling.

"Children highlighted that they felt better when they were empowered to take action on this issue. As a result we are pleased that children and young people were able to share their views and inform the direction of the Crown Estate’s work and plan for 2020-2023.”

The Crown Estate Scotland is responsible for the management of all land and property owned by the Monarchy.

Crown Estate Scotland report

Read the results of the consultation with children and young people

Click to download the report

Participation Guidelines

Our refreshed publication can help children's voices to be at the heart of participation work

Click to read

Crown Estate Scotland

Find out more about the Crown Estate Scotland and read their press release about this work

Click to visit the website