Spotlight: Is Glasgow the third dirtiest city in the world? We take to the streets to find out
That was the conclusion of a recent survey by Time Out magazine, which puts the city behind New York and Rome in claiming the unwanted title.
In the survey, 67% of Glasgow residents who took part used ‘dirty’ to describe the city.
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A few days earlier, it had been voted fourth best city to visit by the same magazine.
In a Spotlight series, the Glasgow Times examines how clean the city is and the problems associated with cleaning in a big city.
On the first day, we go out to some city streets and see for ourselves how dirty or clean they are.
On Monday afternoon, starting from the city center, we set up the procedures to find out.
The downtown streets seemed particularly clean. Sauchiehall Street had barely a piece of rubbish on the pedestrian zone from Rose Street to Buchanan Street and there were no overflowing bins.
Buchanan street was the same – busy with shoppers, but hard to find any litter or trash lying around, let alone piled up.
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Argyle Street and St Enoch Square were also clean.
We asked people on the street what they thought of the city.
Geraldine Cook of Coatbridge agrees with the results of the Time Out survey.
She said, “Yeah, I think it can get pretty dirty. Particularly around the Glasgow Cross area.
“It’s a shame for visitors to see. Empty stores add to the feeling.
Joe Robinson of Glasgow, however, took another view.
He said: “Some parts can get dirty sometimes.”
Of the ranking of the third dirtiest in the world, however, he was skeptical.
He added: “I think it’s a bit harsh. People can be conditioned to think certain things about where they live. It can become a stereotype.
Mr Robinson said he had lived in other cities, including London, and had spent time in New York and did not think Glasgow was among the dirtiest.
Outside the city center, the picture was mixed.
In Cessnock, in south-west Glasgow, overflowing bins and bags left lying in the streets were visible.
Outside a row of shops on Paisley Road West, a large gray bin has been filled with more rubbish piled on top and spilling over the side.
Other trash was piled up nearby.
Across the street, piles of black bags were left against a tree with wood, cardboard and other trash dumped on the sidewalk.
Further on, black bags full of rubbish were left next to black bins and debris was left in a shopping cart and a white bin bag was left next to a tree.
In the streets just off Paisley Road West, there was litter trapped in railings with cans, bottles and food wrappers strewn about.
Across the River Clyde in Partick, Dumbarton Road is one of the busiest main streets outside the town centre.
The streets looked clean with only a few packets of chips and cans of drink lodged in a doorway.
A municipal cleaner with a cart was busy picking up trash that lay along the street.
Glasgow City Council has recognized the need for action, particularly in the wake of the pandemic where staffing issues have had an impact.
He said there was a problem with commercial waste and who is responsible for it.
A £2million fund has been set up to carry out deep cleans in the city, cleaning up litter and graffiti.
A council spokesperson said: ‘We are implementing our plan to recover from the impact of the pandemic and we are seeing an improvement in the city’s cleanliness scores.
“There are a wide range of initiatives underway that aim to keep the city clean and help create the kind of environment we all want to see.
“In addition to the regular street cleaning service, our newly appointed deep cleaning crews will be scouring all areas of the city to tackle hard-to-reach weeds, litter and grime, the publication of flies and other problems that have accumulated over the past two years.
“We are also targeting investments in on-the-fly landfill enforcement, weeks of action in priority neighborhoods and backyards and alleys where environmental issues may exist.”
The council said the public have a role to play in keeping the city clean and a small number are not acting responsibly.
The spokesperson added: “Unfortunately, a minority of people do not dispose of their waste appropriately, either by littering, using public recycling points for general waste or where businesses use public bins. for commercial waste.
“This minority of people can create a negative impact on how people feel about their local environment and this will always present a challenge for services.
“But ensuring local businesses have their waste management arrangements in place is a key part of our weeks-long program of action to tackle fly tipping in the worst affected areas.
“The city has 931 private lanes and we work with many property owners to make sure they properly maintain their property, as these are lanes that are often used by the public and can be places to drop off litter.
“Our Clean Glasgow campaign is also committed to supporting the many volunteers who dedicate thousands of hours of their time to removing litter from their communities, with our new litter collection centers proving very popular.
“If people identify litter in a public place, they can help by reporting it so we can deploy our teams to deal with it.
“If a bin overflows or is damaged, residents can use the QR code on the bin, which will help ensure an effective response from our teams.”