Time for clean up action
Litter: Scotland’s embarrassing welcome
VisitScotland and the Scottish government were last week hailing a 10% rise in visitors to Scotland. Great stuff. But how many of them will go home telling their friends and neighbours what a grubby place it is, with litter strewn everywhere and no one bothering to clean it up?
Daily Business is calling on the Scottish Government, local authorities, VisitScotland and Police Scotland to tackle this problem which blights the country and is bound to impact negatively on visitor impressions.
Edinburgh is among the worst offenders. A short Sunday stroll up Leith Walk, past the Playhouse Theatre, into Albany Street (pictured above) and across to St Mary’s RC Cathedral revealed the extent of the problem. Pedestrians had to walk around the discarded takeaway cartons, bags and drinks containers. I picked up some of it, and in the process encouraged another passer-by to help.
We all know that the biggest culprits are the seagulls that peck at the litter bins and bags.
The solution, therefore is bins with collapsible lids (like the ones used in lavatories) so that the birds cannot get access to the contents.
We also need a ban on leaving waste in polythene bags and penalties for offenders who dump rubbish on the streets. Ironically, in Union Street (between Leith Walk and Albany St) is a sign on a lamp post warning those discarding cigarette butts that they risk an £80 fine. How many fines have been issued?
Evidence from overflowing bins means we also require more and bigger bins. Clearly, the ones we currently have are not able to contain the rubbish being discarded.
The mobile ones also need replacing (they are an eyesore) and positioning more discretely instead of being left to clutter and scar the overall streetscape.
Leith Walk, near London Road roundabout
Leith Walk near Playhouse Theatret
Opposite St Mary’s RC Catheral, a fine sight for newly weds and worshippers