By Bill Heaney
The foul smell which once filled the air on Clydeside used to be called Shieldhall No 5 in deference to the world famous Parisian perfume product.
Although the joke itself is funny, the smell itself was no laughing matter for people who lived near a sewage works in places such as Dumbarton East, Ardoch, the Scottish Rocks and the Clyde shore. It was foul when there was heavy rain and over-spill.
People in old Dumbartonshire from Bowling to Helensburgh had the additional “treat” of a sewage boat, the Garrioch Head, passing down the Clyde with its stinking cargo to dump it in areas once famed for their fishing and shellfish, clabby dhus and whelks and mussels.
Back in the day – fishermen mending their nets at Helenburgh Pier.
Today, however, local people would be extremely circumspect about eating anything that came out of the Firth of Clyde for fear of food poisoning.
Although there are some brave hearts who go swimming in our lochs, rivers and canals on warm and sunny days such as this.
Just today, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, pictured left, has unveiled a series of attack ads which place First Minister Humza Yousaf’s constituency at the top of a new SNP/Green sewage league table.
And there is a national campaign involving stars of stage and screen going on, involving people such as Steve Coogan, to save famous waterways such as Loch Lomond and Lake Windermere from the blight that is sewage.
The league table details the ten government ministers whose constituencies or regions saw the greatest volume of sewage dumped in 2022. There are pictures of some of these people and places in the montage above.
It was revealed this week that a staggering 8.3 million m3 of sewage flowed into the First Minister’s Glasgow Pollok constituency last year.
Graphics for each minister will be available for Scottish Liberal Democrat activists to use to draw constituents’ attention to the failure of SNP and Green ministers to stamp out the huge volumes of sewage being discharged into waterways across Scotland.
The latest 2022 positions in the Sewage League are:
Position Minister Volume (m3) Spills
1 Humza Yousaf, Glasgow Pollok 8.3m 127
2 Elena Whitman, Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley 915k 553
3 Jamie Hepburn, Cumbernauld & Kilsyth 325k 85
4 Michael Matheson, Falkirk West 266k 604
5 Jenni Minto Argyll & Bute ? 1557
6 Patrick Harvie, Glasgow ? 874
7 Mairi McAllan, Clydesdale ? 195
8 Lorna Slater, Lothian ? 150
9 Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East ? 134
10 Natalie Don, Renfrewshire North and West ? 116
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:“Top Trumps just got utterly revolting. This is one league table no Minister wants to be a part of.
“People are really passionate about this topic and I think constituents of SNP and Green MSPs would be shocked to know how much sewage is pouring into rivers and waterways in their area. What makes this even worse is that since so few sewage pipes are properly monitored, the true picture is probably even filthier.
“The First Minister is currently out in front with a whopping 8.3 million cubic metres of sewage pouring into his constituency, while the Minister for Independence and the Health Secretary are both vying for podium positions.
“I am calling for legally binding targets for reducing sewage, a complete ban on dumping on Scotland’s best beaches and the speeding up of efforts to upgrade Scotland’s Victorian sewage network.
“Whether it’s in Glasgow, the Borders, the North East, West Dunbartonshire or Argyll and Bute our campaigners will be putting pressure on SNP and Green ministers to stand up for their constituents.”
Local shellfish, a huge attraction for tourists and day trippers, is under threat if sewage dumping in Scotland’s lochs and rivers continues. Picture by Bill Heaney