Councillor admits ‘failure’ in dealing with litter

An overflowing bin in Princes Street Gardens.'' Picture: Mark Brown
An overflowing bin in Princes Street Gardens.'' Picture: Mark Brown
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ONE of the city’s highest ranking councillors has admitted to a “failure” in litter collections – just days after a war on rubbish was declared.

Finance leader Cllr Alasdair Rankin said the levels of strewn rubbish around city beauty spots “shouldn’t happen” and gave a “terrible” impression of the Capital to visitors.

It comes days after it emerged an army of 78 extra litter pickers had been recruited to rid the city of rubbish over the summer months.

Images of rubbish-strewn streets, parks and beaches have bombarded social media this week prompting environmental charities to insist that Edinburgh “cannot afford a reputation” for being dirty.

Vast swathes of litter have been pictured blighting Princes Street Gardens and Portobello Beach, with council litter pickers said to be “outnumbered and outgunned” by the volume of trash.

Amateur photographer Mark Brown snapped images of bins in Princes Street Gardens spilling out over the grass with a lone litter picker tasked with cleaning it up.

“It had to be one of the most lacklustre performances of litter picking that I’ve seen in a while,” said Mr Brown. “For the levels of refuse around, he was outnumbered and outgunned. The seagulls probably would have done a better job.

“There’s been an awful lot of people unhappy at the level of litter in the city recently, and there’s been a huge amount on social media.”

Mark Bevan, head of campaigns at environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, warned Edinburgh to up its game or face a backlash from visitors. He said: “During a summer where visitors will be flocking to Edinburgh during the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and the festival season we cannot afford a reputation of a dirty country.

“We need those who litter our cities and country to understand the impact of their behaviour and change it.”

Cllr Aladair Rankin, SNP councillor for the City Centre, said he would raise the issue with neighbourhood partnerships who should be “more alert to the increased volume of litter”.

And he said: “There’s obviously been a failure in the service because this shouldn’t happen, particularly when the weather is good.

“Even when people do their best and leave things beside the bin, the gulls get into it or the wind blows it around, and it’s terrible.

“I really think this is something we should be more vigilant about, and I’ll certainly be talking to them about it.”