- Volunteering with KSB and loving every minute
- We are all accountable for our actions
- Hillhead students talk keeping Kelvingrove Park beautiful
- Making it easy to choose a reusable cup for takeaway drinks
- Get to know...John MacLennan
- Get to know...Sandy Scott
- How Eco-Schools benefits pupils, teachers and communities
- Community gardening for climate, nature and heritage in Cumbernauld
- Tackling the litter emergency to protect our wild isles
- Scotland isn't looking so beautiful. We can change that.
- Get to know... Green Flag Award Judges
- Collaboration and innovation to tackle marine litter
- An introduction to Kinnesswood in Bloom...
- The litter emergency
- Our charity faces the environmental challenges ahead with optimism
- Wrapping up 2022
- Biodiversity - Reflections on COP15
- Small steps to protect biodiversity
- Why Mountains Matter
- It’s not just bees and butterflies on your flowers
- Wet Wipes - What's the Issue?
- Young Reporters on the Route: The Launch of Running Out of Time
- Getting to know... Tom Brock OBE
- Getting to know...Kyle Usher
- A busy day for Upstream Battle education
- Planning a Wedding with the Planet in Mind
- 'Disposable' vapes and the damage they cause
- Climate Emergency Training provides positive opportunities for young people
- Making climate action possible for everyone
- Reasons to be positive
- Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change
- Hope is a Garden
- Do we need the word 'pests' anymore?
- Beautiful Scotland judging - the truth
- Supporting Scotland to be the very greenest destination it can be
- Arbroath - working together, inspiring local climate action and improving lives
- Reflections of a beach manager
- I do like to be beside the seaside
- Climate Action Schools - helping young people take action
- Inspiring and empowering young people
- Climate Ready Classrooms at George Heriot's
- Litter, fines and doing time
- Why our Web Developer Cameron loves being part of Team KSB
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- YoungScot Legacy Event
- Why it is the sea and SDG 14 for me
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- (What to do on) a dreich morning on the Firth of Clyde
- West Lothian Litter Pickers – How I got involved
- Scotland’s Climate Festival – Seed funding for community action
- Climate Ready Classrooms at St. Paul’s RC High School
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- Creative Careers: Spotlight on Heritage #NoWrongPath
- Celebrating Scotland’s best managed green and blue spaces
- Taking small steps towards a more sustainable future
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- Our work on the COP26 Youth Climate Programme
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- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
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- East Haven Together
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- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
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- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
Our Chief Executive Barry Fisher explains why date drives decisions in our work against the looming litter emergency.
Over the past few years, Keep Scotland Beautiful has warned of a looming litter emergency. We know the environmental issue is escalating and that people care, because our data from the past 20 years tells us so.
The data from polling research highlights that 88% of Scots agree litter is a problem across Scotland.
The data from thousands of transects our experienced assessors survey each year, recording the presence of litter, dog fouling, flytipping and other illegal antisocial behaviours, tells us the environmental quality nationally, and in local neighbourhoods is in decline.
And the data from those who care enough about the growing problem in their communities to get out there and survey the problem for us, paints the same picture.
We understand from this information what is driving our litter problem, where the problems are worst and what effective solutions might be.
We were heartened that double the number of responses expected were made to the recent Scottish Government consultation on a revised Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland. It shows that people, businesses and organisations care.
And we know on the back of our recent Spring Clean, where more than 5,000 people pledged to collect litter, that not only are the public engaged in the matter, they are keen to take action to tackle it.
But we also know that more needs to be done. Urgently.
The data we have confirms for example, that food and drinks packaging are persistent forms of litter in Scotland. This suggests that the banning of certain single use items could potentially form part of an effective response to the looming litter emergency. We know that as we move towards any future Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, where producers may have to pay for the costs of correct management of their products when they become waste, we will need to know what products are being littered and not reused, recycled or repurposed.
We also know that local environmental quality is poor in deprived neighbourhoods, and that street cleanliness in more urban local authorities, where there are more people, is generally lower than in more rural ones. In recent months, our data has also highlighted the worrying prevalence of single use face coverings as litter in our streets and open spaces. Data collection and constant review uncovers trends that can be addressed through campaigns specific to problems and local areas.
We have recently started working with North Lanarkshire Council targeting roadside litter, and supporting community action through clean up, and we are piloting our literate training course with communities through Glasgow City Council. These partnerships are utilising local data to tackle issues relevant to their communities and we need to increase and build on these partnerships as we look to the future.
I’ve said it before and will echo it again - litter should be one of the easiest environmental problems to solve – everyone is able to bin their litter or take it home. We have the data, we have the evidence of the problem, and we know that if we use this efficiently that collectively we can make a difference.
Together we can use the evidence we have to stop the looming litter emergency.
*First published in the Scotsman on 3 May 2022