IT was considered one of the most polluted rivers in Scotland.

The River Almond in Lothian has since become the centre of efforts to provide river improvements for healthier wildlife.

But conservationists remain concerned about the state of the river and have now supported the creation of a piece of art made from reclaimed rubbish from the river to hammer home the environmental message.

What at first appears to be a depiction of riverbank nature is on closer inspection revealed to be reclaimed rubbish in disguise.

Edinburgh artist Annie Lord has used everything from Tennent's Lager cans to wet wipes and more to create the River Series: Almond artwork which will be displayed at the Almondell and Calderwood Country Park Centre.

Those behind the RiverLife project, which hopes to return fish and other wildlife to the upper reaches of the Almond for the first time in 200 years, hope to encourage visitors to think twice when it comes to dealing with rubbish.

The Herald:

Throughout September a team of intrepid volunteers from local angling groups and the Friends of the Country Park collected what they described as an "astonishing" 1,384 items from just 100 metres of river bank.

The vast majority of collected items were wet wipes and sanitary products that people had mistakenly thought were flushable and had come out of the sewage works into the river during what they called "an all too common overflow event", which occurs when water levels rise and water treatment plants don’t have the capacity to process residential and industrial sewage.

READ MORE: Revealed: 20 rivers in Scotland polluted by toxic 'gender-bender' chemicals

The artwork forms part of It forms part of RiverLife's new RiverRubbish initiative which puts the pollution of the River Almond in the frame.

Ms Lord said: “Like many people I was completely unaware of the extent to which rivers are being filled with wet wipes and other rubbish.

"Seeing the volume collected in such a small area really brought the message home. Working with the intrepid volunteers from local angling groups and Friends of the Country Park we used some of the ‘best’ items to draw awareness to the fact that what people mistakenly flush they can meet again later on their walk.

The Herald:

"I’m delighted with the energy and enthusiasm these volunteers brought to RiverRubbish workshops and I have looked to channel that in the creation of River Series: Almond. I hope that the work will put a spotlight on the need to consider our rivers and care for them.”

Lead partner of the RiverLife project is the Forth Rivers Trust and director Alison Baker said: “RiverRubbish perfectly encapsulates the challenges and opportunities we have with our rivers. While the levels of rubbish seen in the River Almond can be disheartening and symptomatic of the wider issues of waste management, the willingness, commitment and care shown by local communities points the way forward for creating a new relationship with our rivers.

" Annie Lord’s work on this project is an important step in this process and I’m delighted with how her work and approach has captured the interest and imagination of local community members along this stretch of the River Almond.”

The Herald:

The RiverLife project has already begun work on the construction of the UK’s longest rock ramp to encourage the return of salmon and other wildlife to the River Almond.

That was described as the first project of its kind in Scotland, which is striving to connect communities with their rivers as well as to restore diverse fish species both the Almond and the Avon.