Waste piling up on Edinburgh city centre streets

Rubbish piles up in Drummond Street. Picture: Jane Barlow

Rubbish piles up in Drummond Street. Picture: Jane Barlow

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LITTERBUGS are clogging up the city centre with growing levels of rubbish, according to new figures.

The city’s annual report into street cleanliness saw half of the Capital’s neighbourhoods fail to meet the council’s own rigid targets.

And while five of the six areas have less mess than a year ago, the city centre and Leith have only got worse – falling below national standards.

The news comes as tens of thousands of visitors from across the globe descend on Edinburgh to enjoy the world-famous festivals.

Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB), which conducted an inspection in June, said there were still “hotspot problem areas” – and noted the vast majority of the problem was caused by litter louts.

Carole Noble, operations director for KSB, said it was up to each individual to take responsibility and “do the right thing”.

She said: “We know that the city council is working hard to make improvements to its cleanliness standards, and monitors the situation over and above the legal requirements, providing staff with essential information which enables issues to be tackled in a timely way. However, there are still hotspot problem areas, and locations that require ongoing cleansing and attention.

“It is important to remember that it is up to each individual to do the right thing – to dispose of waste correctly, to pick up after their dogs and to report incidents of flytipping, graffiti and flyposting.”

This year’s KSB inspection – which is based on a snapshot of litter, graffiti and dog fouling – found just 87 per cent of the city centre and Leith’s streets were clean, compared with 92 per cent last year. City-wide, the report rated 95 per cent of streets mess-free.

But despite falling standards in city centre cleanliness, the council’s own figures show more than a third of public inquiries about litter in the area are not dealt with within agreed timescales.

The latest report comes after the Evening News published a letter from American tourist Grace Migliaccio earlier this month blasting the Capital’s “filth and pollution”.

Advertising consultant and News columnist Gerry Farrell, who is spearheading a new Litter Free Leith campaign, said there was still “a lot to be done” to tackle the issue.

He said: “It’s been getting really bad – not just littering but the fact bins are overflowing and attracting seagulls.”

Green councillor Chas Booth said there was a “particular problem” with littering in Leith, adding: “The city 
council is just not doing enough to tackle the problem.”

Cllr Lesley Hinds, environment leader, said overall cleanliness was improving but admitted there were “clearly still some issues in parts of the city centre and Leith” – where council efforts are now being focused.

She said: “There are a number of enforcement actions and initiatives in place to tackle problems like litter, flytipping and dog fouling, but for these to be successful we also need residents, businesses and visitors to help by disposing of their waste responsibly.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com