Comment: If streets are tidy people will take more care

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the litter-strewn state of the Capital’s streets has been a particularly hot topic in recent weeks.

The problems are always worse at this time of year when the population of the city more or less doubles with the summer festival crowds and we all spend more time outdoors. But the volume of rubbish piling up in some parts is nothing short of a disgrace.

Of course the city council needs to get its finger out and play its part in ensuring the Capital does not look like a midden. A concerted effort is needed in many neighbourhoods to ensure litter is cleared more promptly and efficiently. Otherwise the big risk is that the city begins to look dirty and unloved and people take even less care of their environment. It is all too easy to slip into a spiral of decline.

But the responsibility does not rest only with the council as Evening News columnist and anti-litter crusader Gerry Farrell rightly points out in today’s paper. The Leith resident is looking to recruit a team of volunteers through Facebook to take part in a litter pick and attract sponsorship and support from local businesses. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to reporting on the progress of this fledgling campaign.

Keeping the streets clean is all about people taking pride in our neighbourhoods. If the streets are tidy, most people will take more care to ensure they stay that way. It’s simple human nature. What better way of promoting this kind of pride than through a grassroots campaign?

Perhaps the city council could team up with Gerry’s volunteers, offering to direct their attention at the worst problem areas which the residents identify and can’t tackle on their own. Knowing that the city is supporting their efforts will only encourage volunteers to play their part. Who knows a team effort like this might even become a model for community litter picks across the city.