‘Embarrass the litterbugs into behaving’

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we live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in one of the most beautiful countries. We may take it for granted at times, but most of us appreciate it – and will do what we can to keep it that way.

Sadly, not everyone thinks like that. Take the 120 bags of litter swept off the city’s streets each day as evidence.

It’s a huge problem – and tackling it can seem at times impossible. After all, how do you get through to an adult who thinks it’s fine to chuck an empty Coke can in Princes Street Gardens?

It would be the easy to stare at the mountain of rubbish in our picture today and despair. Is there nothing we can do about it?

Well, our streets didn’t always look like a midden. There must be answers. But what?

The obvious response is “fine them”. That would at least give us the satisfaction of seeing some of the culprits punished.

But it is never going to be the whole answer, unless one day we afford a litter warden on every street.

Education is one answer – and so is social pressure.

The truth is that our litter problem is not quite as black and white as we like to think.

A lot of litter is not deliberately thrown away, but is perhaps popped in a corner to be picked up later and then forgotten. Making sure it gets to the bin is just not quite important enough.

Similarly, some people would never dream of throwing litter in front of family or friends, but they do when they think no-one is 
looking – from a passing car window, for example.

The truth is that many people can be embarrassed into behaving better if they think more eyes are on them and more people disapprove. That is what’s so great about the Clean Up Edinburgh campaign. It shows how much we care – and helps to shame those that don’t. So what are you waiting for. Why not sign up today?