Lesley Hinds: We can create a beautiful city

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Edinburgh is a world-class capital, attracting hundreds upon thousands of visitors each year to admire our stunning architecture and second-to-none landmarks. So why shouldn’t our streets live up to this reputation?

Every summer the council’s team of environmental wardens and street cleaners pull out all the stops to keep our city beautiful for residents and tourists making the most of the Athens of the North.

Not to mention the extra resources we plough into maintaining the city, with more than 70 temporary street cleaning staff and a new batch of extra large litter bins set to line our parks, proms and open spaces.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. There’s no denying that more needs to be done to keep Edinburgh clean and attractive. That’s why we need the public to do their bit. We want everyone to take responsibility for keeping their community tidy, creating the welcoming environment Edinburgh deserves.

Disposing of rubbish responsibly in litter bins provided is the first step towards beating the problem, but we also need the public to let us know when there’s a litter problem in their area. Unfortunately, our wardens and task force can’t be everywhere at once, so by reporting overflowing bins, dumped rubbish and littering, residents can act as our eyes and ears in our ongoing fight against litter.

It’s easy to report this on our new website using your mobile, tablet or computer.

I truly believe that by working together we can combat street clutter in Edinburgh. Sadly, not everyone shares our determination, with dog fouling, littering and graffiti continuing to plague the city.

We are committed to changing attitudes though, and will continue working to raise awareness of the problem. This year alone, we have had more than 80 clean-ups with 5655 people taking part in community litter picks as part of the Clean Up Edinburgh campaign, and we’re looking forward to a string of events this summer.

It’s not just individuals and local groups who can play their part, it’s essential that businesses take pride in the city’s surroundings too. Our latest cleanliness scores, monitored by Keep Scotland Beautiful, revealed the overspill of trade waste to be an issue, particularly in the city centre, but we’re working with traders to manage this.

A trade waste pilot, currently under way on Rose Street, Rose Street lanes, Leith Walk and the High Street, which requires businesses to present their waste during specified time slots, has seen dramatic results.

2014 is a major year for Scotland, when the limelight will be on some of the most momentous occasions in the country’s history. Let’s work together to make sure Edinburgh has its own chance to shine.

• Lesley Hinds is city council transport and environment leader