Jeremy Purvis: enjoy the weather but watch litter

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Huge numbers of locals and visitors have taken advantage of this week’s great weather and have seen Scotland at its very best.

Whether it is Edinburgh’s cityscape shimmering on a summer’s day, Portobello beach humming with waterside play or the tranquillity of Princes Street Gardens, we have much to be proud of. But pride in our city, our country, carries with it responsibilities. A responsibility to tread carefully on the environment, and take all your litter home with you.

I will not be the only proud local who looks on at the debris left behind by some with a sense of shame, and disbelief that others can be so careless and disrespectful.

A walk along the beach today, or a visit to one of our many parks, will show you the extent of the problem. Park corners littered with discarded takeaway food containers, abandoned barbecues, drink containers left behind.

Attitudes to litter and mess need to change. So my organisation, the independent charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, launched the Clean Up Scotland Campaign earlier this year. It’s a mass engagement campaign which aims to quickly take action on litter and mess through voluntary clean-ups – over 100,000 have taken part so far – and works to change behaviour in the long-term so that dropping litter and leaving mess becomes as socially unacceptable in future as drink-driving is today.

Keep Scotland Beautiful is proud to be working with the R&A at Muirfield, where worldwide visitors to The Open Championship this week will be followed in 2014 by visitors to the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and many cultural events. We’re determined that Scotland should shine for our time in the international spotlight.

The answer to our litter problem is simple: use the bins provided, or take all your litter home with you. It’s that simple, yet too many locals and visitors alike ignore it. This great spell of weather should be an opportunity to celebrate and show off our surroundings, not leave them tainted and soiled.

• Jeremy Purvis is campaign director of Clean Up Scotland