Comment: ‘We’ll publish a picture of every tosser’

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HERE we are again. At the first sign of sun Edinburgh is yet again in the midst of complaints about litter, overflowing bins and dog fouling.

Long-suffering residents are outraged and blame the local 
authority for failing to prioritise this as an issue.

The council, meanwhile, quietly points to the fact that it is not they who are dropping rubbish and can highlight a number of new initiatives aimed at tackling this seemingly intractable issue.

A new scheme to tackle trade waste, more wardens during the summer at a cost of £200,000 and a publicity drive to encourage smokers to “bin their butts” are some recent examples of council action.

Furthermore, the Edinburgh City Council partnered with the News on a “Dish the Dirt” campaign which encouraged residents to shop lazy dog owners who allow their pets to foul streets and parks.

At a national level the Scottish Government is doing great work with its Dirty Little Secrets campaign as well as discouraging unnecessary packaging.

So, let’s agree that we are all trying. But let’s also agree that it’s simply not enough.

Regardless of whether Edinburgh is a particularly windy city which encourages litter to blow around, or whether we might 
simply have a lower number of civic-minded people in our population, there is a problem.

You don’t have to be clever to spot it – you just have to be honest.

We need a new approach. A radical approach that makes littering the streets as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

So, today the News commits to publishing the picture – online and in print – of every person who is issued with a fine for littering in our Capital.

Many of them won’t care. Some may even revel in it. But it should send a message from the civic-minded majority that we will not tolerate such behaviour.

Europe spends £10 billion a year picking up litter, with the bill in Scotland amounting to £73 million, according to Keep Scotland Beautiful.

That is £20 for every man, woman and child across the EU.

So, this is not only a blight on our public realm, it’s costing us cold hard cash.

And if Scotland is to achieve its goal of being the cleanest country in Europe by 2020 (don’t laugh) then we need radical action.

So, don’t be a tosser. Respect your city. And if you end up being fined, don’t expect the Evening News to be sympathetic.