An anti-litter campaign has been launched in Musselburgh as local residents and businesses are urged to ‘adopt a street’ in a bid to rid the town of rubbish.

Organiser Melanie Roccio, who lives at Fisherrow, has created a Facebook page for the initiative called ‘Don’t Mess With Mussy’ which she hopes will rally people into taking action.

She said: “It all started when I was walking a friend’s dog around and seeing all the litter – and moaning about it in my head. I thought what is the point in moaning about it and just walking past it, so I decided my new year’s resolution was to pick up one piece of litter every day.

“It started off at Fisherrow Links as that was where I would walk the dog but it is not limited to there. And it might be more than one piece of litter a day as well.”

She took to social media in January to find out if there were like-minded people willing to join the crusade.

“I wondered if anybody else would like to get involved so I made the Facebook page as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts,” she explained.

“We are sitting at more than 430 Facebook likes so I am really pleased with the speed of how it has taken off and the positivity surrounding it.”

She is urging people to ‘adopt a street’ on which to pick up litter and, so far, 18 routes have been ‘adopted’ including in Fisherrow, towards the rail way station, Pinkie, Wallyford and further afield in Ormiston.

She said she was also keen to get local businesses involved in the campaign by staff members agreeing to pick up litter around their premises and reviewing their recycling methods, for example replacing plastic cutlery with a different option and also considering composting.

“I don’t want it to be a chore and hard work for people,” added Melanie.

“It’s going to take more than me picking up a piece of litter every day but if a lot of people picked up one piece, it would make a big difference.

“I want it to feel like it is everybody coming together and making a difference together rather than struggling on their own.”

Melanie is in the process of making a map of every litter bin and recycling point in Musselburgh to identify gaps where more could be sited in the future.

She said: “It is about making people aware of the services that are available and how they can access them.”

She added that litter was a general problem everywhere and highlighted the need to think of the consequences of dropping rubbish, such as cigarette butts, which could incur an £80 fine.

“There is nobody present to enforce that and people might not be aware that a cigarette butt contains plastic and chemicals,” she added.

“One cigarette butt in two gallons of water could kill small crustaceans and fish mistake it for food,” said Melanie who is grateful to Staggs bar for getting involved in recycling its cigarette butts.

Her campaign is being backed by the Fisherrow Waterfront Group which has organised a spring beach clean at Fisherrow on April 14 from 11am to 1pm.

Katie Swann, a member of the group and a Fisherrow resident, said: “I have been really impressed by what Melanie is doing and liked the idea that it is about positive action – it wasn’t about telling people off.

“It was about saying let’s work together to try and make this a better place to live, work and play. There is a lot of civic pride.

“People love Musselburgh and they are very proud of it, and want to take care of it. This campaign has latched on to that really well.

“Anyone is welcome to come along and help with our beach clean. We are meeting at the fishermen statues on the promenade and everyone will be given gloves and litter pickers. It works nicely with the Don’t Mess With Mussy campaign.”

She stressed: “The litter we get on the beach is washed up if we have storms or tides. I don’t want people to think Musselburgh is a messy place where people drop litter.

“It also blows out of recycling boxes and the seagulls take it out the bins when the bins get too full.”

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said of the campaign: “We are supporting the volunteers by providing them with equipment and health and safety advice as well as disposing of the rubbish they collect, in the same way that we support community events like beach cleans.”