Leith anti-litter campaign picks up support

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A CAMPAIGN to keep Leith tidy launched less than a week ago has already garnered huge support from the community and local businesses.

Spearheaded by marketing man Gerry Farrell, the man behind Irn-Bru’s famous “phenomenal” ads, the idea appears to have captured the imagination of Leithers at a grassroots level.

Within six days, it has attracted almost 400 likes on Facebook and pledges of support from local businesses, politicians and activists.

Leithers Don’t Litter was kicked off on Wednesday by Gerry and wife Zsuzsa in response to concerns that the area was drowning in a rising tide of litter.

The Evening News told on Saturday how official Keep Scotland Beautiful figures showed that cleanliness standards in Leith were slipping

Their initiative includes litter picks, a drive to encourage people to use bins and educational visits to local schools, including Leith Academy.

Gerry said: “It’s really snowballing and Leith is looking cleaner already. We already have nearly 400 followers on our Leithers Don’t Litter Facebook page, which is an amazing number.

“We’ve had offers of help from local Leith businesses and we’ll be meeting them all in person. The council is playing its part too. Cables Wynd was an eyesore but it’s improved a lot. This is showing all the signs of a campaign that is capturing people’s imaginations and we can see it really taking off and giving a sense of pride back to Leith.”

Following the launch Chas Booth, Green councillor for the ward, has already pledged to give the drive as much help as it needs.

Meanwhile Tina Moffat, of Leith Market, has offered to provide the campaign with its own stall to publicise its efforts. Gerry will use the platform to collect emails and contact details for Leithers who want to sign up for organised litter picks.

“We want to get people out in force. Fingers crossed this is going to keep going and keep gaining momentum,” he said.

“We are already really chuffed with the response.”

The Facebook page has proved key, not only in raising the campaign’s profile but also in allowing people to flag up rubbish hot spots or issues that pose a potential risk to safety.

Last week, several used syringes were found on Broad Wynd but were cleaned up “within an hour” after the campaign raised the alarm.

The Evening News columnist, who lives in Leith, is seeking about £10,000 in sponsorship to cover the cost of promotional material to reach “as many people as possible”.

Leithers Don’t Litter already features a poster featuring the litter monster and bearing the slogan “Don’t Feed The Beast”.

The advertising consultant wants to recruit an army of volunteers to clean up the streets in the next three weeks. He has also pledged to encourage the police to prosecute litterbugs.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com