Clean up Edinburgh - sign the pledge and bin your litter

A mountain of rubbish was displayed at an Edinburgh beauty spot today as the City of Edinburgh Council launched a major new initiative to combat litter in the capital.

The initiative will encourage people to play their part and pledge their support to the Clean Up Edinburgh anti-litter campaign.

Around 120 bags of litter were piled up in Inverleith Park to give an idea of how much debris is dropped by people onto the streets of the capital every day. On average, over 45 tonnes of litter is collected each day in Edinburgh.

This is the Council's most significant anti-litter campaign for several years, supported by Keep Scotland Beautiful, and is a call to action to residents, businesses and community groups to play their part in changing behaviour and attitudes to dropping litter, in a bid to keep the capital clean. One of the main aims will be to get as many signatures as possible on the pledge to either bin or recycle litter. People can sign up here.

Clean Up Edinburgh organisers want to encourage as many people as possible to join the campaign's first event, a host of mass community clean-ups taking place at various hot spots across the city, on the same day, November 29. Find out where you can join in at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/litter, or get advice and support such as litter picking equipment for organising further clean-ups on the same day. Groups and individuals will be encouraged and supported to organise local initiatives and projects over the next 12 months.

With tourism worth £10 billion to Edinburgh's economy and with visitor numbers predicted to rise once again next year, making sure that the city's beauty is not marred by litter is vital. This is even more important in 2014 when Scotland hosts the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games, with the diving events taking place in Edinburgh.

Pupils from nearby Flora Stevenson Primary School joined Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds, Keep Scotland Beautiful campaigns director Mark Bevan and Pam Barnes, Convener of the Friends of Inverleith Park, at today's launch.

Councillor Hinds said: "Edinburgh is a stunning city but the amount of litter being tossed onto its' streets and parks is staggering. Today we want to raise awareness of this and also encourage people and businesses to sign the Clean Up Edinburgh pledge.

"The Council spends £4,500 each day disposing of rubbish dropped by the public, money which would be far better spent on other resources. With around 3,500 litter bins available, there is no excuse for not using them and when litter bugs cannot be bothered taking responsibility for their own rubbish, everyone is affected. It is the Council's responsibility to keep Edinburgh clean, but it is up to each and every one of us to play our part and keep our streets free of litter – which is why we are launching Clean Up Edinburgh.

"We are asking as many people and businesses to sign the pledge online and to get involved in Clean Up Edinburgh – either taking part in one of our events on November 29 or by organising one of their own."

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: "Clean Up Scotland is trying to engage a million like-minded people by the end of 2014 to help make Scotland shine when the world is watching us host the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

"The campaign is all about local people deciding to do something about the litter, dog dirt and other mess that blights our neighbourhoods and landscape, and Clean Up Edinburgh are making great efforts in engaging with the city’s public and creating exciting opportunities to help make Scotland that bit cleaner."

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