COMPELLING news stories come and go – presidential elections, Brexit, indie referendums, trams, roadworks all have their share of headlines. But one topic is ever-present, dividing the populous, causing neighbourhood fury, and posing a permanent challenge for the council and the environment.
Dog poo is never off the agenda. And, as the most recent Edinburgh People Survey reveals, it all depends on where you live.
We are in the greater Morningside/Meadows area where the largest percentage of people (70 per cent) don’t even recognise it as a common problem, in comparison with other areas where the percentage drops to the 30s. There’s a reason for that. We always pick up and never leave the house without poo bags. It’s such a habit that even if the dog isn’t with us our pockets are stuffed with scented nappy sacks.
And we’re not just goodie-goodies. Anyone spotted round here letting their doggy dump without picking it up is likely to be criticised, ostracised and given a telling-off. Any litter is rare and most residents pick up any stray can or crisp packet and bin it simply because they want their street to be clean. A pile of dog mess sticks out as a blot on the landscape.
Human nature decrees that someone dog-walking in an area where litter is plentiful and watching where you place your foot is vital, may be a bit more cavalier, just adding to the existing piles of excrement.
The response of people walking past as a dog owner stoops to retrieve the poop isn’t always predictable. Some smile appreciatively acknowledging the tidy-up while others screw up their noses in disgust, and some even glare as if the dog shouldn’t be allowed to relieve itself at all.
Dog owners are just as varied. Dog faeces can be dangerous and also ghastly for anyone pushing a kid’s buggy or using a wheelchair. Good owners also pick up for their dog’s sake, to maintain Fido’s local reputation and demonstrate he’s well looked after. They pick up on country walks as well as city streets. A dog’s poo is like a baby’s nappy . . . if it’s yours you can happily deal with it. The next important step is to put the bag in the bin.
Now this is where some owners seem to go mad. Perhaps they don’t like carrying it . . . in which case they shouldn’t have a dog . . . but they drop it randomly on the assumption that if it’s bagged, it’s OK. Worse still are the ones who throw it up into a tree like a noxious piece of décor, or into a hedgerow ruining the wildlife environment. These owners, as well as those who don’t bother to pick up at all, are a disgrace.
But the thousands of “clear up after your dog” stickers on gates, lamp-posts and in parks, all warning of a maximum £500 penalty, seem to be an empty threat. Catching an owner “in the act” is tough. But surely, despite budget cuts, it’s worth a publicity campaign, council and community clear ups of poo-infested areas and some intense, plain clothes, poo warden patrols issuing fines. Otherwise, when Trump, Brexit and indyrefs have been consigned to history, we’ll still be moaning about dog dumps.
Deliveroo has a duty of care
THE practice of food delivery firm Deliveroo, which withholds basic employment rights from its couriers who it treats as self-employed contractors, is going to arbitration and may become a legal action for compensation if no settlement is reached.
Any right-thinking person would support these cyclists and bikers who are being exploited.
But there’s another aspect of employer’s responsibility and that’s health and safety. Deliveroo couriers in Edinburgh are often on bicycles, dressed in dark colours, without helmets (which are admittedly optional) and devoid of lights. As self-employed, any injury incurred or accident they are involved in is their problem. And if they actually cause the accident, who will any victims claim against?
For the sake of all road users, Deliveroo should equip their riders properly and provide appropriate business insurance protection for couriers and the public.
Mesh implants transformed my life
AS I’ve admitted before, I had mesh implant surgery ten years ago, with no problems until I required a minor op adjustment recently.
As the campaign by those who had suffered ill-effects and disability grew, and a report into the procedure was commissioned by the Scottish government, I was concerned about the outcome. Had I been extremely lucky? No, it seems I was in the majority.
Of course, I feel for those women who have suffered devastating consequences, but every surgical procedure carries some risk of side-effects. Around 1850 women a year had mesh implants, which potentially amounts to 18,500 over that decade. Around 400 women who have experienced complications are involved in legal action. That equates to around 2.1per cent.
Side-effects must be explained in full and alternatives explored. But as someone who had their life transformed for the better, I am glad the implants remain an option for others.
Chimps’ taste is very sound
SCIENTISTS having conducted experiments at Edinburgh Zoo and elsewhere which involved playing Mozart, Beethoven, Adele and Justin Beiber, have deduced that chimpanzees have no appreciation of music. That should have read “human music”. In fact, from that playlist I can probably claim chimp ancestry.