A PAIR of outdoor travellers who have made it their mission to paddle against pollution have criticised Cumnock’s super school after they found a mountain of rubbish discarded in the river nearby.

Neil and Charlotte of the Rubbish Paddlers, who take to the waters to try and clear them of mess, set sail on the Lugar Water recently and were shocked at how much waste they came across.

Sifting under the Barony Campus bridge, the duo found items including snack containers, wrappers and bottles, and say that although the school “may have claimed to be built with sustainability at its heart”, “the bigger the school, the bigger the impact on the natural environment”.

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Charlotte said: “We went paddling on the Lugar to take advantage of the high water levels and were curious to see what the pollution would be like, seeing how the river flows through small towns and agricultural areas.

“We were surprised to see how much rubbish there was in the river near Cumnock. Some of it was old rubbish - trolleys that were becoming part of the river bed - but most was new rubbish. We found many drink bottles and carrier bags tangled up in trees, as well as commercial plastics and containers.

“Under the new campus bridge, we found lots of discarded snack containers, wrappers and bottles. Unfortunately, the water was flowing fast so we couldn’t pick it all up.”

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With the brand new Aldi store having just opened on Ayr Road, too, the Paddlers are concerned that the issue will persist.

Charlotte added: “It is very clear to us that this will only worsen the issue of rubbish in the river, as pupils will easily have access to heavily wrapped snacks and drinks."

An East Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “The children and young people who attend the Campus feel pride in their schools and there is no truth in the suggestion they don’t care about their environment or that littering isn’t monitored appropriately.

“The council works closely with the local community and partners to tackle litter in the vicinity of the Campus. Outdoor Services installed five new bins within the area, the Corporate Enforcement Unit with Police Scotland have carried out joint patrols during busy times, including lunchtime, and within the Campus, community issues including littering are discussed regularly in class.”

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An Aldi spokesperson said the store team conduct litter picking around the car park and the front of store each morning to ensure the site is clear of litter.