Leader comment: ‘Communities should follow Gerry’s lead’

Locals and visitors joined forces last week  to help pick up litter on Cockburn Street. Picture: Contributed

Locals and visitors joined forces last week to help pick up litter on Cockburn Street. Picture: Contributed

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As he is an Evening News columnist, we are decidedly biased.

However, we hope everyone will agree Gerry Farrell’s award for his Leithers Don’t Litter campaign is really well deserved.

We wish such action wasn’t necessary of course, but encouraging communities to become involved in this sort of grassroots campaigning is the only way that we will make major inroads into cleaning up Edinburgh.

The initiative won six gongs at the Scottish Creative Awards and Scottish Resources Awards on Thursday night and was praised for its innovative use of stunts and advertising in particular. Highlights included blown-up posters featuring discarded packaging from well-known companies.

Not every community has someone of Gerry’s talent able to devise and execute a campaign of course, but others could well take a leaf out of the successful Leith book.

Yes, the council has a responsibility to keep the streets clean and empty the bins - a duty which we are hoping it will soon get better at performing.

But residents also need to take pride in their surroundings, to fight to make their corner of Edinburgh the best it can be, and to help in holding the local authority to account where it is failing.

Images of overflowing bins or of tourists helping to pick up litter in the city centre do nothing for the profile of the city on the international stage.

More importantly, the minority of anti-social individuals who drop litter or allow their pets to foul our greenspaces make the Capital a less pleasant place for all of us to live.

Gerry and wife Zsuzsa have the ultimate aim of changing attitudes towards dropping litter – making it as socially unacceptable as smoking in public places.

There’s a long way to go before that aim is achieved but they have made an impressive start.