Edinburgh deserves to be properly looked after - Cllr Karen Doran

Picture the scene: a beautiful, sun-soaked spring evening in the Meadows, families and groups of friends gathered to sit out and enjoy the great outdoors with a picnic, whiling away the extra hours of daylight surrounded by the park's rich biodiversity.

Now picture the scene the morning after: acres of carefully cultivated parkland strewn with empty crisp packets, glass bottles, unfinished food scraps, burnt squares of grass where people have scorched the ground with disposable BBQs. A sorry sight indeed, but sadly one all too familiar to our parks and cleansing teams during the warmer months, whose hearts sink when they arrive to assess the aftermath.

It shouldn’t be like this. We shouldn’t be having to clear nearly four tonnes of litter – the same weight as an Indian elephant! - from the grass on the Meadows the morning after a sunny day. If we want everyone to get the best of Edinburgh, to enjoy its fabulous parks and reap the physical and mental health benefits of time spent in urban greenspaces, then we all have to treat our parks with care and respect, leaving them as spotless as we’d expect to find them.

There are plenty of bins around – and we’ve put out extra large litter bins to boost capacity even more – but if you find there’s no space left in them, please just take your litter home with you rather than simply getting up and walking away, leaving mess and rubbish behind you. It’s not just unsightly – it’s a potential health hazard too, and it encourages vermin. You wouldn’t leave a big pile of rubbish lying in your own garden – so why do it in ‘everyone’s garden’?

If you’re having a BBQ, make sure it’s on one of the purpose-built stone slabs provided rather than on the grass itself. And please check it’s fully cooled down or extinguished when you’re putting it in one of the specially designated bins – our cleansing trucks have caught fire more than once from still-smouldering BBQs, and there was a fire in a bin on Bruntsfield Links on Easter Monday caused by a disposable BBQ.

Thankfully not everyone treats our parks and greenspaces carelessly. We spend more than £10m a year keeping Edinburgh clean and tidy and throughout this month, communities right across Edinburgh have been taking the initiative to help us keep their neighbourhoods clean, with dozens of litter-picks organised to spruce up parks ready for the warmer weather.

Monday was international Earth Day and there’s a huge amount happening in and around Leith throughout this week to mark it, including a ‘plogging’ excursion (picking up litter while jogging). Details are on our website if you’d like to take part, or find out how you can organise your own clean-up event and what equipment we can provide to help make it happen.

Edinburgh is one of the world’s most beautiful and greenest cities. She deserves to be properly looked after – so let’s keep up the good work!

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