Tackling #lockdownlitter

Working to reduce the impact of the ‘lockdown effect’ on communities

The challenging events of the last few months provided an opportunity for all of us to spend more time in our local area, limited in our ability to travel, taking our daily exercise in local green and open spaces, and having time to appreciate and value the places we live.

However, these events also created a unique opportunity to reflect on the declining environmental fabric of our communities, to notice the litter, dog fouling and flytipping that we might otherwise have passed by, to be enraged at the selfish actions of our fellow citizens and to consider how we might make a difference.

As lockdown restrictions have eased we have witnessed the large scale trashing of beauty spots like sites in Loch Lomond national park and major parks such as Glasgow’s Kelvingrove and The Meadows in Edinburgh which have stirred national anger.

However, we also know that, as a result of national polling we commissioned in June, individuals and communities across Scotland are seriously concerned that there has been a ‘lockdown effect’ that has caused further environmental damage to their local area, particularly with regard to levels of litter, dog fouling and flytipping. 

Unfortunately, there is the very real possibility that this could get even worse with the further easing of restrictions, the tourism industry reopening and more people being able to meet up in larger groups outdoors.

Keep Scotland Beautiful has been positive and proactive in engaging and collaborating with partners and communities to minimise the impact of this ‘lockdown effect’, preventing the situation from getting worse through a number of on-going projects.

We have been working with our corporate partners to get the right message to their customers about what they should be doing with their litter. We joined forces with Costa and McDonalds to add our ‘Give YourLitter A Lift, Take It Home’ materials to drive thru restaurants across Scotland.  We have also worked with Scottish Water to improve signage at a number of reservoirs using this messaging to tackle soaring volumes of litter.

We have also encouraged individuals and households to get outdoors and litter pick in their area to try and clean up the problem and prevent it getting worse.  Our recent guidance sets out how this can be done safely in line with guidance from the Scottish Government.

Over the coming weeks we want to shift the focus on to supporting hard-pressed communities across the country, many of whom have contacted us for advice and support. We want to work with active individuals and community groups to tackle the problem at a local level. We will be engaging our It’s Your Neighbourhood and Beautiful Scotland groups to ask them how we can best support them going forward.

We’ll be supporting partner organisations including Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and Forestry Land Scotland to amplify anti-litter messages and in addition will also be working in association with Keep Britain Tidy to support the Great British September Clean and are planning our activities.  Further information and guidance will be cascaded through our website, newsletters and social media channels.

Any plans and events will be designed to adhere to the most up-to-date Scottish Government Guidance. You can now register private events with our Clean Up Scotland members’ site to let us know what you have planned in September.

In the meantime, there are four simple things you can do to help tackle the ‘lockdown effect’ in your community now:

  1. Individually, with family or a small group undertake a litter pick - find our litter picking guidance here.
  2. Complete litter surveys of your community to help gain an understanding of littering habits near you.
  3. Support your local It’s Your Neighbourhood group
  4. Share our messages on social encouraging people to bin their litter or take it home and keep Scotland beautiful, or download a poster for your local community notice board.

Going forward, we have an opportunity to have a serious conversation about how we work together to protect and enhance the places that matter to us all  Keep Scotland Beautiful will be creating opportunities for individuals, community groups, public organisations and businesses to tell us what they think about the condition of their local area and what advice and support they need to make a difference locally.

If you have any questions or comments please get in touch: cleanup@keepscotlandbeautiful.org

09 July 2020

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