Comment: Army of litter pickers is welcome

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If you know you are heading to a big event where there will be lots of people, you want to look your best.

You want to make sure you are wearing your best clothes, hair brushed, shoes shined with a spring in your step.

And so as Edinburgh looks forward to the biggest event in its calendar where it will be on show to the world, surely we should ensure the city is spruced up to the nines.

The old problem litter returned for an extended run at last year’s Festival.

The city council came under fire for overflowing bins, cigarette ends left strewn and general 
grubbiness.

Put simply, it was not the best advert for the Capital to be sending out at a time when the city’s population doubles.

And so the council’s move today to fork out an estimated £200,000 on an increased army of summer litter pickers is welcome.

This added to the Essential Edinburgh work to improve the general appearance of the city centre will make a real difference.

The result of the action (and justification for the admittedly hefty outlay) will hopefully become obvious for all to see.

Our requirements are basic – not being forced to navigate a rubbish-strewn Princes Street and being able to find a bin which still has the capacity to accept more than a tiny square of paper.

We want visitors to leave the city talking about how wonderful Edinburgh is, enthusing about a return trip and encouraging their family and friends to do the same.

We should not underestimate the importance of a first impression of the city which is often formed by how clean it is.

But it’s not just about tourists.

We don’t particularly want to live in a giant dustbin every time the sun comes out either.

Let’s hope that this year when Edinburgh’s big moment comes and the eyes of the world turn towards us, we are remembered for the laughs and the sunshine not the rubbish and the grime.