Aim to stop littering in Leith

Gerry Farrell launches the Litter Free Leith campaign.Picture: Jon Savage
Gerry Farrell launches the Litter Free Leith campaign.Picture: Jon Savage
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One of Scotland’s top ad men is spearheading a campaign to keep Leith tidy amid claims the area is drowning in rubbish.

Gerry Farrell, the man behind Irn Bru’s famous “phenomenal” ads, is urging business owners and residents to help him tackle the scourge.

Litter Free Leith will include litter picks and a publicity drive encouraging people to use bins.

The Evening News columnist, who lives in Leith, is seeking about £10,000 in sponsorship to cover the cost of promotional material to reach “as many people as possible”.

The advertising consultant wants to recruit an army of volunteers to clean up the streets within the next three weeks.

He is also urging people to be more active in reporting litter hotspots to the council and has pledged to encourage the police to prosecute litterbugs.

Mr Farrell, who runs Gerry Farrell Ink with wife Zsuzsa, said: “If Leith is as proud as a community as I believe it to be Leithers will rally around to make it better looking and more litter free than anywhere else in Edinburgh. Rubbish looks ugly and it lowers the reputation of places like Leith.

“We have a lot of problems with litter, some to do with bins that are full to overflowing and are targeted by seagulls.

“There is also a section of humanity that just drops everything, and some containers take centuries to break down.”

Mrs Farrell, who is also pushing the campaign, has set up a Facebook page called Leithers Don’t Litter where people can discuss problem areas.

The initiative will include stickers for shop windows urging customers not to drop their rubbish on the streets.

Takeaway packaging, particularly Polystyrene, is a major problem and Mr Farrell is keen to work alongside fast food outlets to educate customers.

Leith Walk and Leith have consistently under-performed on CIMS scores, the index used for measuring street cleanliness across the city.

Keith Hales, of the Leith Business Association, welcomed the initiative but said the council also needed to “lead by example”.

He said: “This is a serious problem and Leith Walk is a disgrace, with poor 
enforcement and not enough bin collections. I think the businesses and the community need to put something back but we also need leadership from the council. We are not getting that.”

Environment leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said community groups played an “important role” in helping us to keeping streets clean and tidy.

She added: “Our street cleansing teams do a great job but they can’t be everywhere at once so it is vital that people take responsibility for their own litter and dispose of it responsibly. Cleanliness scores for Leith are increasing but there is room for improvement.”