Green Lothians Holyrood candidate Mark Ballard and Inverleith local council candidate Melanie Main will join local volunteers from Stockbridge Community Council on Sunday (April 15) to clean up the Water of Leith.

Mark Ballard organised the annual river clean-up as environment convenor of the Community Council before being elected as an MSP in May 2003. The Community Council won the clean up prize from the Water of Leith Conservation Trust for it’s efforts in April 2003.

Green MSP Candidate Mark Ballard said: “It’s great to get back to doing practical conservation work. This annual event shows how passionately people care about the local environment – and what great things we can achieve when we come together as a community. My political roots are in this kind of work, so I’m really enjoying taking a break from the campaign trail to do this.

“Although the Council has made more effort to control the litter situation in recent years, there is still a huge amount of work done by volunteers that should be acknowledged. A cleaner Edinburgh brings benefits all round – to tourism, business, and the health and well-being of residents.”

Green Council candidate for Inverleith Melanie Main said: “Edinburgh recently received its highest ever rating for cleanliness from Keep Scotland Beautiful, but the focus was mainly on city centre streets, rather than peripheral areas and paths like those along the Water of Leith. The work of volunteers is hugely important in ensuring that the most scenic parts of our city remain clean and pleasant, so I am delighted to join the Stockbridge team on Sunday.”

The aim is to clear litter and debris from the paths and river banks and paths alongside the river. The areas close to Stockbridge are popular routes for walkers and cyclists. Although parts of the river are regularly cleared up by volunteers from the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, the main effort is throughout April and May.