The Scottish Parliament’s youngest ever petitioner, seven-year-old Callum Isted, impressed MSPs and the First Minister as he brought his campaign to Holyrood.
Callum spoke to a committee of MSPs and Nicola Sturgeon about his campaign for every school child in Scotland to be given a reusable water bottle.
The pupil from Dedridge Primary, Livingston, West Lothian, was applauded by the Public Petitions Committee, which vowed to take his petition forward and write to the Scottish Government about its objectives.
Asked why he was presenting the petition at Holyrood, he said: “I wanted to go to Nicola Sturgeon’s house, to go and speak to her about the bottle but my mum said it wasn’t allowed.
Committee convener, Jackson Carlaw, responded: “Ah, so we were second choice.”
The Primary 3 pupil gave the committee a frank appraisal of the problems plastic water bottles pose for the environment.
He said: “Animals could get injured or die if they are litter and humans could get ill if they eat a fish that has eaten plastic. These are called microplastics.”
Callum also told the MSPs about his fundraising efforts, which have included a 134-mile walk, and his visit to the Cop26 summit.
Conservative MSP, Sue Webber, spoke in favour of his petition, saying: “I think when there’s something as tangible as this that will make such a real difference to so many young people across the country, I think it would be foolhardy not to get onside with Callum and his petition and back it all the way.”
He showed her the metal bottles he wants to see handed out to pupils across Scotland
Callum’s father, James, later spoke of his pride at the campaign.
He told the PA news agency: “All the ideas, everything behind it has been him – him pushing it all to the next level.
“We’re just going, ‘how can we help and make it happen for him?'”
Following his visit, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “The First Minister was delighted to meet with Callum Isted today and hear more about his campaign for every school child in Scotland to be given a reusable water bottle.
“The Scottish Government will consider the aims and objectives of Callum’s petition when it is taken forward.”
It comes after the youngster successfully raised funds to buy refillable bottles for his own school.
He also said he wanted action taken to fix the broken taps in schools “so that we can use the bottles properly”.
The Scottish First Minister has already described Callum’s campaign as a “really laudable aim and ambition”.
Mr Carlaw explained that the process of creating a public petition “lets the Parliament know about the issues that are most important to people across Scotland”.
He said: “At seven years old, Callum is our youngest ever petitioner and he’s already campaigned for – and brought about – positive change in his own school.
“Now he wants to see that change extend across the whole of Scotland. I look forward to hearing more from him tomorrow and what he hopes we can do to help his campaign achieve wider success.”