THE ROYAL Mile has been branded a disgrace after mountains of rubbish bags were left to pile up at a time when thousands of tourists are in town to enjoy the end of the Festival.
Black bags three feet high were left dumped just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle, with another pile left lying in a heap across the road.
And despite the mess being reported to the city council, the rubbish remained in place all day. By yesterday afternoon, environmental wardens had placed stickers on one lot of waste to say it had been illegally dumped – but had still not taken it away.
Meanwhile, a short distance away on Johnston Terrace, one restaurant claims to have lost thousands of pounds in trade because customers have been put off sitting outside by rubbish constantly building up.
City Centre Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat said: “It’s unacceptable that the council cannot get the premier street cleared when the mess has been reported that same day. I don’t care where the waste has come from, it should be removed as quickly as possible.”
Tourists were forced to pick their way around the waste yesterday – as one passer-by even pulled a clothes dryer out of the mountain of debris.
Elizabeth Pellierier, who was visiting the city from Melbourne but is originally from Edinburgh, said: “It’s disgusting – there’s rubbish everywhere you go.
“The bins everywhere make the city look like a tip, it’s like we’ve gone back to the old days when Edinburgh didn’t have a sanitation system.”
Veronica Rodriguez, who works at the restaurant Taste of Scotland, added: “Last summer we had similar problems. This is the High Street – it should be kept clean.”
Staff at Hanam’s restaurant on Johnston Terrace said the communal bin outside overflowed at least four times a week, often with between 50 and 80 bags left inches from the outside tables.
Owner Lisa Ahmed said: “This has been going on since July when the council decided to put a communal bin outside the only food premises on the entire road with outside seating.
“We were not consulted or warned about this and when we called to query its location we were basically told ‘tough, that’s where the residents wanted it’. In the busiest, warmest two months since we started trading we reckon we have lost at least £10,000 in takings from being unable to use our outside seating area.”
She said the restaurant used a private contractor to remove waste, adding the rubbish had come from the flats above.
On Friday afternoon, environmental wardens had placed stickers on the waste to say it had been illegally dumped.
Environment leader Lesley Hinds said arrangements were being made to take away the rubbish on the Royal Mile.
She added: “The Royal Mile is an extremely busy place at this time of the year and cleansing staff are under a lot of pressure to cope with the huge increase in rubbish.
“Bins are emptied as often as possible and street cleaners are carrying out regular sweeps.”
Councillor Hinds added the domestic waste bin on Johnston Terrace was for householders living opposite.
“A trader in that area has already received a fixed penalty notice for leaving 14 bags of trade waste near their business.
“We would urge all traders to make sure they make suitable arrangements for the disposal of their own waste – we all have a responsibility to ensure that Edinburgh is a clean and tidy city.”