Edinburgh litter: When are we going to finally heed Ronnie Corbett and Lulu and keep Britain tidy? – Susan Morrison
They caught my eye. Two takeaway coffee cups, and a sandwich wrapper.
They looked like they had been placed there, awaiting a nice mini-picnic and a natter, although the venue seemed a little odd. Right on the verge, just before that roundabout on the way into the airport. Odd spot for a caffeine stop.
Of course, they hadn’t been placed there. Someone, perhaps en route to the airport, had dumped them there. Someone had lowered their car window and consciously turned takeaway into throw away. Remember, if they were travelling to the airport, bins there are not an issue. Loads of other things are, believe me, but finding a place to ditch the wrappers is not.
Who does this? Who still thinks it's acceptable to hurl your empties out into the road? We’ve spent decades battering home the clean-up message.
Years ago, little Ronnie Corbett told us not to drop litter. Lulu told us to Keep Britain Tidy. Of course, they both had an ulterior motive.
Like me, neither managed to break the 5ft 2in barrier. The terror of being engulfed by a sudden wind-borne wave of empty fast-food boxes and crisp packets is never far away for us shorties.
Decades of celebrity lectures – and yet the streets of Edinburgh are paved with wrappers and rubbish.
Even the Highlands are clogged with the detritus of daytrippers, staycationers and people who booked motorhomes for a life on the open road, but forgot to check if the van had an onboard bog. From what I’ve heard of Cairngorm laybys, plastic bags are the least of the horrors you can step in.
So who are these litter-dumping monsters? Well, let's not discount the role of the seagull in this. This morning two of Leith’s finest cracked a bin at the end of the street. It was like watching the Hatton Garden gang in action. A bag at the top had propped the lid open just enough. Those long yellow beaks got right in and that bag was expertly ripped apart. Looked like they only got some mouldy old dough for their trouble, but the street was redecorated with the bag's contents.
The bulging bins on the Kirkgate are a 24/7 buffet for our feathered friends, with the added ingredient of Bucky-soaked steak bake remains. I’m convinced half the gulls in Leith are permanently plastered.
The gulls make merry with the muck because bins aren’t secure, or they’re overflowing, and because people think that putting rubbish next to a full bin counts as tidying-up. It’s not. It's more like a sort of Deliveroo for assorted vermin.
Astonishingly, some people still shed rubbish in their wake. You’d think young people would know better. After all, they spend hours lecturing us oldies about our planet-killing crimes.
And yet during the summer I watched a bunch of kids on Porty beach have a whale of a time, then just start for home. Mind you, they were stopped by a terrifying woman in the wild swimmer Dryrobe-and-woolly-hat combo who turned the lot of them round to pick it all up. I was so scared of her I helped pick it up, too.
It’s us, we’re the ones litter-louting. Don’t drop rubbish. It’s not that hard. And if the bin is overflowing, take it home.