Grassmarket, Edinburgh, is currently the focus of a litter picking project, Neat Streets.  

CEC, Grassmarket BID, Keep Scotland Beautiful and a London Base Social Enterprise called Hub Bub have come together to encourage the people who live and work here to tidy the place up for the visitors.... As a long term resident I feel a bit miffed at the idea of locals being asked to look after the place for anybody but themselves and all the more so because in Grassmarket the people who create the most mess and litter are the businesses and the visitors! If proof were ever needed, read on.

We have a weekly outdoor market in Grassmarket it’s been coming here for around 2 years. Time enough to iron out teething problems and put in everything you need for a full day of trading, you would think. A variety of stalls sell a variety of goods ranging from crafty type things to take away foods. The stall holders arrive around 9am and pack up around 5pm. It’s the leaving part that’s tricky, saying good bye isn’t always easy.

The stall holders, possibly not all of them but certainly a LOT of them, get rid of their waste by chucking it into the resident waste bins sitting close by the “Event Space” (none of the locals call it this but the businesses and visitors do).

I say a LOT of them do this because towards the end of trading these bins are full and overflowing. But that doesn’t stop the stall holders from chucking their bags of rubbish onto the now growing pile of bin bags sprawling across the path.

The bins might get emptied on Sunday but overnight the gulls will have pecked the bags to bits and spread the waste. Perhaps the gulls should have been invited to pose for their photographs on the posters currently advertising the Neat Streets project.... they don’t exactly live here but then neither do the vast majority of the other people on the hoardings....


Janet Dick, EOTDT member