Why Glasgow is an environmental disgrace – Brian Wilson

Litter-strewn streets are a disgrace, says Brian Wilson (Picture: Ian Georgeson)
Litter-strewn streets are a disgrace, says Brian Wilson (Picture: Ian Georgeson)
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Glasgow City Councils needs funds to keep the city clean, not just enough for a temporary fix before world leaders arrive for the UN climate summit in November, writes Brian Wilson.

When asked which environmental issues concern them, a majority tend to answer in terms of their own environment rather than great challenges the world must confront.

This may be disappointing for activists who believe, quite rightly, we should all be worried about climate change. But if you live in an environment polluted by litter, overflowing bins, dog-fouling and derelict shops, these tend to take priority.

That is a truth which Glasgow and the Scottish Government need to learn urgently. Not to beat about the bush, the city which will host the world’s biggest environmental jamboree in November is an environmental disgrace, according to popular criteria.

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I passed Donald Dewar’s statue outside the Concert Hall and could swear he looked even gloomier than usual. Around him lay litter-strewn streets and a scatter of poor souls in sleeping bags, symbolising our new status as homeless deaths capital of the UK.

Then I walked from Dalmarnock Station to Celtic Park. There had been no game for a fortnight but bottles, cans and other detritus lay undisturbed. Once I started noticing, similar conditions were evident all over the dear green place.

Maybe the fact I was in Lisbon earlier in the week made me more aware of a shocking contrast in cleanliness. This is what happens when council budgets are relentlessly cut. Prior to 200 heads of state hitting Glasgow in November, there will doubtless be a great clean-up. The streets will shimmer. Rough-sleepers will be found a haven.

But a cosmetic, temporary exercise around COP26 will be even more insulting to ordinary Glaswegians. Now is the time for Glasgow to clean up its act, to give refuge to the homeless and to receive funding which the city so obviously needs.