Scots admit to being litterbugs

Half of Scots admit to dropping litter despite knowing that it is against the law and could result in a £50 fine.

Research published by Keep Scotland Beautiful revealed that 46% of people confessed to the environmental crime.

However, the same proportion said they were offended by litter when it was found in their own neighbourhoods, beaches or parks.

The findings have been published as Keep Scotland Beautiful launches a plea for the nation to stop dropping their rubbish.

Programme manager Donna Niven said: “Our research highlighted that people felt dropping litter was acceptable because their individual behaviour was of little consequence, especially in areas which were already littered.

“But what I’d like people to realise is that if everyone drops even one piece of litter, we end up with a huge problem. So I would urge everyone – young and old – to play their part.”

Last year, officials issued more than 4,000 fixed penalty notices to people caught littering, but cleaning up the rubbish still costs Scottish local authorities £70m a year.

The research found that, contrary to common perceptions, teenagers and children are not the main litter louts, as a surprising 63% of 45 to 54-year-olds admitted to littering.

Dog mess was the litter that bothered most people questioned in the survey, with 69% complaining about it.

This was followed by chewing gum (49%), food and drink packaging (45%), fast food packaging and leftovers (34%), and needles and plasters (30%).

However, in 2005-06, smoking-related litter was the most common problem, found in 62% of sites, followed by sweet wrappers and confectionary on 42%.

Drinks litter was found on 32% of sites, fast food on 9% and dog mess on only 7%.

Businesses and individuals who want to comment on litter in Scotland can take part in an online survey at

Kate Martin

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