More than 1700 bin bags of litter were collected during a recent clear-up program on rural roads in South Lanarkshire.
Piled one on top of another the bags, weighing eight tonnes, would reach higher than the tip of Tinto Hill.
That’s according to the local authority, who say the bags collected weigh more than an average primary school full of children.
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And it was almost double the amount of litter collected during the same project last year.
David Booth, executive director of community and enterprise resources at South Lanarkshire Council (SLC), said the program was the “most significant” yet, and the “most disappointing”.
He told Lanarkshire Live: “South Lanarkshire is a fantastic and unique mix of urban and rural. As a place to live, work and visit, it offers so much. Yet, there is a stubborn few who have no qualms about treating our communities like glorified waste bins.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to see the figures that have come out of this last month of work – almost double that yielded in the same project last year and costing tens of thousands of pounds.
“Every penny and hour spent is money and time lost to the council and its communities. There is simply no excuse for this type of selfish and irresponsible behaviour.”
The month-long project cost SLC more than £42,000 for additional staff, temporary road restrictions and disposal of the rubbish.
Teams spent all of March, including weekends, clearing more than 40 miles of roads and verges in and around Clydesdale, East Kilbride, Larkhall, Stonehouse and Strathaven.
In just one week East Kilbride saw 244 bags – equaling 1.15 tonnes of bagged waste – collected along 15.5 miles of road.
Clydesdale was more double this on each count, albeit over two weeks and 20 miles or so of road.
It was the lowest of all the areas targeted in the space of a week but still cost the council £9,694.18 to clean up in terms of overall costs.
The council’s anti-litter campaign, launched last year, urges people not to be that ‘eejit’ and has seen the authority work with schools, community groups and the wider public to increase awareness.
As well as the rural roads programme, there has been a trial of new ‘smart’ waste bins at James Hamilton Heritage Park, East Kilbride, and more practical support for community-led clean up events.
However, the success of any such campaign depends on the support of those who live and work in South Lanarkshire.
Mr Booth added: “I’m particularly angry at the throwaway culture that seems to be prevalent in many who use our rural roads.
“So much of what was collected was bottles, cans, food containers, and wrappers, all of which can be disposed of easily, and in the majority of cases, recycled.
“Let’s make no mistake, this is not about major dumping of waste, individuals avoiding using amenity sites or any other such excuses. This is purely and simply littering.”
Penalties for those caught dropping litter in public range from £80, while the illegal dumping of waste carries fines from £200. There is potential for criminal charges and even a prison sentence for the worst offenders.
More information on what the local authority are doing to combat litter and fly-tipping, advice on how to report local issues, and details of how the council can help with community clean-up events is available on its website.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.