THE heart of the Old Town will be the focus of a £50,000 anti-litter blitz to get it in shape for festival season.
The five-month “Grassmarket Neat Streets” trial, which will launch next week, comes ahead of the busy tourist period. The initiative is thought to be the first time that the council, traders and residents have joined forces to tackle littering in the area.
The campaign will see banners draped throughout the Grassmarket, artwork installations and bins which allow smokers to vote on issues when they stub out their cigarettes.
Beth Berry, who runs the weekly Grassmarket Market and features in one of the My Street is Your Street campaign posters, said: “I am backing this campaign because litter doesn’t help anyone; it is bad for business, bad for our reputation and has no place in our historic home. I want those who live, work and visit to take some pride and keep the Grassmarket beautiful.”
The campaign is the result of a partnership between environmental charities Hubbub and Keep Scotland Beautiful, residents and shopkeepers from the Greater Grassmarket Business Improvement District area.
Research has highlighted that more than 60 per cent of people in Scotland are annoyed by fast food packaging, discarded food waste and cigarette litter.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment convener, said: “We are incredibly proud of this beautiful city, but littering is something which continues to damage its environment. The issue is avoidable, and by placing the community at its heart, I really believe that Neat Streets can have an impact.
“As we approach the festival season and the historic Old Town becomes busier, the build-up of litter is all the more evident, so I look forward to seeing how this initiative can tackle this, in tandem with other anti-litter campaigns we have planned across the city.”
Keep Scotland Beautiful will provide an audit of litter levels and ongoing measurements will be taken throughout the campaign in order to analyse changes in littering behaviour.
The campaign aims to tackle all littering but cigarette litter, fast food packaging and discarded food waste are “priority items”.
The city council will continue its existing enforcement and street cleaning throughout the trial.