A MILLION people across Scotland are being urged to join a mass anti-litter campaign to clear away “unacceptable” waste ahead of major international sporting events.
Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful launched the drive as the nation prepares to host the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games which will be held in 2014.
Under the Clean Up Scotland campaign, the public is being urged to organise community clear-ups or simply sign a pledge against litter.
The campaign, which will also highlight dog fouling, fly-tipping, graffiti and abandoned cars, comes a week after the Scottish Government announced a national litter strategy to find new ways of tackling the problems.
A summit is planned for early next year to decide the best ways to stop littering, including fines, which are currently fixed at £50 and enforced by councils and police.
A survey in 2008 showed that more than half of Scots have dropped litter, with almost half doing so regularly or occasionally.
Launching the initiative, Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Scotland is a beautiful country, but it could be so much better without litter and mess. This is more than just a visual problem – it affects our society, our health and the economy.
“It’s an unacceptable situation, and this campaign will change it. Small efforts by ordinary people can make a big difference, and we want one million people to join with us in making this campaign a success.
“I am calling on individuals, local groups and businesses to participate in activities ranging from signing the pledge on our website, to donating money to the campaign, to organising or participating in a local clean-up.
“We will bring the kit – all you need to do is bring yourself and your pride in your local area. This is the perfect time to act on Scotland’s environmental problems. Within two years, we are staging global events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, and we should all want Scotland to shine when the eyes of the world are watching.”
The latest annual Keep Scotland Beautiful National Spring Clean earlier this year saw an estimated 125,000-250,000 volunteers collect 1,100 tonnes of litter in two months – enough to fill almost 100,000 wheelie bins or cover Hampden Park three feet deep. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park reported a 97 per cent reduction in litter along the eastern side of the loch after a camping bylaw was brought in to tackle problems.
Grant Moir, director of conservation, said: “Unfortunately litter continues to be an issue at certain lochshore sites. Public bodies can put in place measures to help visitors and the public when they are in the countryside but there is a level of personal responsibility in dealing with the waste that individuals produce.”
Environment secretary Richard Lochhead MSP said: “There is simply no excuse for litter on Scotland’s streets and beauty spots – this is such senseless anti-social behaviour. We can all stop creating mess, and this campaign makes it easy for people to do their bit.”