Tuesday, October 17 2017
The below letter has been sent to the Herald in response to their front-page article of Monday, October 16 2017.
The not so ''Bonnie Banks''
I was interested to read your front page article highlighting the stark claims by environmental charity Keep Scotland Tidy that ''Scotland is being choked by soaring levels of litter and filth which is creating an image of a country gripped by decline and neglect with rubbish and fly-tipping standards at their lowest level in a decade'' (''One million Scots living in dirty towns and streets'', The Herald, October 16).
This is a damning, but fairly accurate, indictment of the current situation which equally applies to popular beauty spots such as Loch Lomond and the busy A82 route corridor, as well as the communities in urban and rural Scotland referred to in the article. It also undermines Scotland's recent accolade as the most beautiful country in the world as voted by Rough Guide readers. How long before we are voted as one of the dirtiest countries in the western world which is a real possibility if we continue on the current trajectory?
In response to the unsatisfactory state of affairs on Loch Lomondside we organised a successful 'Make a Difference Day' last week which saw 30 volunteers from a wide variety of walks of life getting their sleeves rolled up and removing dozens of bags of litter strewn beside laybys on the Bonnie Banks as well as opening up views of Ben Lomond. We have found that direct action of this nature is often far more productive than making fruitless representations to public agencies appealing with them to face up to their responsibilities and to address the situation in a consistent and coordinated basis.
Sadly, many public agencies have become more skilled in passing the buck and hiding behind ''PR speak' rather than admitting there is a litter problem that needs concerted action with their involvement and resource commitments. To be fair, the National Park Authority has recently acknowledged the deteriorating situation with regards to litter and is making attempts to bring local partners together to try and improve the situation. The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has also called for a ''Litter Summit'' to be held soon involving senior representatives from relevant agencies and local community councils and businesses as the current unsatisfactory situation cannot be allowed to continue.
No doubt as part of the latest annual round of local authority budget saving reviews throughout Scotland the option of cutting back further on litter and cleansing services will feature high on the agenda. Based on the compelling evidence from the recent extensive Keep Scotland Beautiful surveys this would be a major mistake and would simply accelerate the further erosion of Scotland's environmental credentials and undermine the economic well-being of the country which is increasingly dependent on a successful tourist industry.
Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs