Cllr Hinds: We all have a responsibility to keep Edinburgh looking her best

The following Platform piece by Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds was published in the Edinburgh Evening News today:

"There’s no two ways about it: keeping this beautiful city clean and litter-free is the responsibility of each and every one of Edinburgh’s residents and visitors.

"Although we’re of course very encouraged by the most recently published independent street cleanliness scores, there is absolutely no room for complacency – we all can, and should, be doing much more.

"Figures out this week showed that a total of 97% of the streets assessed under the scheme in September last year were found to have an acceptable level of cleanliness – the highest percentage to date since Keep Scotland Beautiful’s independent assessments began.

"Great results, undoubtedly, and testament to the hard work of our street cleaners and environmental wardens who do such a great job in combating litter and dog fouling.

"In addition, a trade waste pilot scheme where businesses put out their bins at a specified time only will be launched in Rose Street later this month. It should go a long way towards keeping streets clutter-free as well as reducing litter and deterring vermin.

"But while these cleanliness scores help us to see where our litter-busting energies are paying dividends – and conversely, which areas need closer attention – they are not the end of the story.

"Anecdotal evidence also speaks volumes and I know from the calls and emails I get as a local councillor that many residents are just as passionate as I am about keeping Edinburgh clean and attractive.

"Most people take pride in their surroundings and do their bit: disposing of litter responsibly, putting out their rubbish on the right days and picking up after their dogs.

"Sadly not everyone is as civic-minded though, and we still face a major challenge in tackling antisocial littering and dog fouling in this city.

"To do this, we need a combination of ongoing education, awareness-raising and enforcement.

"Clean Up Edinburgh, a city-wide awareness-raising campaign aimed at tackling the issue of litter, was launched in October 2013 and seeks to change public attitudes, urging individuals and groups to take responsibility for keeping their local community clean.

"More than 400 people all over Edinburgh, including schools, businesses and community groups took part in a Day of Action to launch the campaign on 29 November 2013 and the Clean Up Edinburgh Pledge has been signed now by 50 councillors as well as Sir Chris Hoy and Scottish Rugby Union star Ross Rennie.

"We want to see as many individuals and organisations as possible sign up to the Pledge and follow the excellent example of the likes of Hermitage Primary School and McDonalds in holding communal litter clean-ups to spruce up their neighbourhoods.

"Sign the pledge at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/litter and we’ll give you lots of ideas on how to get involved in the campaign, whether you are a business, individual or community.

"This is such a big year for Edinburgh and we all need to play our part to help show this great city off to the world in the best possible light – let’s work together and give litter the heave-ho."

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