THE River Esk is a prominent feature in Musselburgh and the Esk itself runs through my constituency. Many of my constituents know that I am chair of the Esk River Improvement Group (ERIG) where the group provides a platform for local organisations and key stakeholders to network and aims to improve the overall health of the Esk.

It is really important that the Esk and other rivers are protected against pollution and the impacts of climate change. This is why I have partnered with Buglife, who are leading on the protection and recovery of Scotland’s river ecosystems, to advocate for Scotland’s rivers and undertake the role of River Nature Champion this Parliamentary term.

From June 1, Scotland became the first part of the UK to implement a ban on many of the most problematic single-use plastics. Currently, around 700 million of these single-use items are currently used in Scotland every year, with many littering our parks, beaches and rivers. I welcome these proposals and hope this encourages more businesses and individuals to switch to reusable alternatives.

I am aware that single-use plastics are not the only material polluting our waters and lands and we must tackle the wider issue of littering and fly-tipping. Recently in the Scottish Parliament, I asked the Minister for Environment and Land Reform for an update on the new national litter and fly-tipping strategy for Scotland. The consultation on the new strategy closed on March 31 and the responses are currently being analysed. Local authorities and private landowners already spend a huge amount of resource on preventable behaviour such as fly-tipping and I do hope the outcome cracks down further on these issues to prevent more littering and fly-tipping.

Rivers and beaches need to be protected and we can all play our part in preventing pollution into Scotland’s waters. Please try to remember the 3 Ps – pee, poo and paper – and bin all wipes, nappies and sanitary products. Taking small steps can make a huge difference.