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Selfish. Careless. Irresponsible.
These are all words that could be used to describe those who have trashed our parks and beaches over the last few days.
What is it about people, who claim to be so proud of their country, that when the sun comes out they feel it is justified to litter their local places, spoiling it for everyone else?
Over the past decade we have seen a steady increase in the amount of litter across Scotland. Our annual surveys highlight that our throw-away society has resulted in an increase in litter nationally.
Lockdown gave Scotland a brief break from litter and we hoped people had reconnected with their local open spaces and the wildlife it is home to. As they escaped outside for their daily exercise, we longed for people to once again recognise the value of what their community had to offer.
We were wrong. Many haven't.
With the lifting of some of the restrictions last weekend, along with the sunny weather, we have seen on social media and have heard from our volunteers that people are behaving worse than ever. Parks, beaches, loch sides have all been heavily littered with picnic and bbq waste. And, this is particularly noticeable now, when local authorities have understandably had to dial back services – including clearing up after people.
Yet, despite, the state of some of our best beauty spots, we have also been inspired by those who are just as angry as we are, the volunteers who are taking it upon themselves to carry out litter picks of the places they love.
Littering is illegal and unacceptable at any time. But now, when we are living through a health pandemic, it is really not ok to drop litter, to leave it in a park or on a beach, and to expect someone else to have to clear it up.
Our message is clear – bin it, and if you can’t, take it home!
Find out more about how you can be part of the solution and help us clean up Scotland.