THE people of Galashiels have been told to clean up their acts.
Councillor Bill White has labelled the current levels of litter lying about the town as “absolutely diabolical”.
But he is hopeful that a controversial new recycling plan costing £32,000 can improve the situation.
Mr White made his initial comments at Galashiels Community Council last week, as complaints were heard about the amount of waste ruining the image of the town, in particular material from fast food chain McDonald’s.
But with Scottish Borders Council’s budget tighter than ever, he has asked Galaleans to pick up after themselves.
Speaking to TheSouthern, Mr White added: “It really has deteriorated in the last two months.
“We are coming up to the time when Galashiels should be looking at its best, but in the last six or eight weeks I have noticed more and more litter.
“We have bins which are sitting empty, yet 10 yards away there is a pile of rubbish on the road.
“If people would put their rubbish in the bins then the money spent clearing it up could be allocated elsewhere, such as education.
“There are plenty bins around the town for people to use.
“We are not as bad as some places elsewhere in the country, but we do not want it getting worse.”
Some members of Galashiels CC believe McDonald’s should clean up the mess, with areas such as Low Buckholmside seeing piles of wrappers and paper from the global chain’s nearby restaurant.
Other areas to suffer from litter louts include Currie Road and Huddersfield and Dale Streets on the route to Netherdale.
But Galashiels CC chairman Ian Purvis says locals have to take more responsibility.
Mr Purvis told last Wednesday’s meeting: “It is easy to blame McDonald’s and the council but I think the emphasis should be on the public to clean up after themselves.”
However, a McDonald’s spokeswoman said the company would be willing to discuss with residents and other businesses how to stamp out littering.
She added: “Employees at the McDonald’s restaurant in Galashiels are committed to carrying out daily patrols to collect all types of litter in the surrounding area and we have funded McDonald’s bins and signage in the vicinity of the restaurant in an attempt to encourage everyone to dispose of their litter responsibly.”
Last month, Selkirk Community Council lambasted plans to place 97 huge community recycling bins across 22 town and village centres.
The 5ft by 3ft units, as part of a new Recycling on the Go scheme by Scottish Borders Council, were compared to Daleks by one community councillor from the Royal Burgh.
But Mr White disagrees. He told us: “I think these bins will help the situation in Galashiels. They are striking in size but you need them to stand out in order for people to notice them.”
Community council responses to the recycling bins pilot are to be submitted tomorrow.