Council asks volunteers to clean Edinburgh streets

Councillors Jim Orr and Lesley Hinds want people to bin their cigarette butts. Picture: Greg Macvean

Councillors Jim Orr and Lesley Hinds want people to bin their cigarette butts. Picture: Greg Macvean

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AN army of litter-picking ­volunteers are to roll up their sleeves and do their bit to clean up the Capital.

Council chiefs hope to enlist dozens of helpers for a day of action this Friday, in which known rubbish hotspots will be targeted.

Each day more than 45 tonnes, or 43,000 bags, of rubbish are tossed on to the city’s streets, leaving a daily £4500 bill to tidy up the mess.

This mountain of rubbish leads to £1.6 million a year being spent sweeping up after litterbugs.

Now, in an effort to consign the problem to the bin forever, the council has launched a major initiative.

And it already has the backing of one star name in the shape of Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy.

City council leader Andrew Burns said: “Most of us take responsibility for our rubbish, but the council has to spend £4500 a day clearing up behind the minority who think it’s acceptable to throw litter on to this historic city’s streets and parks.”

Members of the public and businesses are being asked to get involved and lend their support to the day of action by either organising their own clean-up or by joining in one of the many official events.

According to the council, smoking-related litter is the most common problem, ­followed by drink containers, sweet wrappers and fast-food containers.

In the run-up to Clean Up Edinburgh’s Day of Action, councillors Lesley Hinds and Jim Orr took to the High Street yesterday to urge smokers to bin their butts.

And Lord Provost Donald Wilson joined cycling star Sir Chris to sign an official pledge to show their support.

Councillor Wilson said: “Around half of us admit to dropping litter and the council spends valuable time and money cleaning it up. Our environmental staff are already stretched but if more people disposed of their rubbish properly, this would free up resources which would be better used elsewhere.

“I am happy to back this worthwhile campaign to make sure that the beauty of Edinburgh is not marred by litter.”

Edinburgh achieved a high overall score in the Keep Scotland Beautiful survey released in September, but five out of 17 council wards – many in less affluent areas – were found to be below the “acceptable standard of cleanliness”.

Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Clean Up Scotland is trying to engage a million like-minded people by the end of 2014 to help make Scotland shine when the world is 
watching us host the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

“The campaign is all about local people deciding to do something about the litter, dog dirt and other mess that blights our neighbourhoods and landscape, and Clean Up Edinburgh are making great efforts in engaging with the city’s ­public and creating exciting opportunities to help make Scotland that bit cleaner.”

WHERE TO HELP

Official clean-up events are taking place at the following venues:

Davidson Mains Park: Friday, exact time TBA.

Burdiehouse Burn Park: Friday, 9.30am until 12.30pm at Burdiehouse Burn from Gilmerton Dykes Street to Guardwell Crescent.

Wester Hailes: Friday, 9.30-10am at the council’s Murrayburn premises and 10am-12.30pm in the Greenway area.

Niddrie: Friday, East Neighbourhood office area, 1pm-3pm

Crewe Road Gardens area: Friday, 11am-1pm.

Great Junction Street: Friday, exact time TBA.

Seafield Recreation Ground: Friday, 8-11am.

Grassmarket: Friday. At the police box, 12-2pm.

Calton Hill: Wednesday, The City Dome, 10am until midday.

Both the City Chambers and Scotsman Steps areas were cleaned yesterday.