Third dirtiest city in the world: what can we do to make Glasgow cleaner?
Glasgow could be cleaner. there is no doubt.
On some streets on some days it can seem like trash is falling from the sky.
Time Out magazine conducted an international survey and their conclusion was that Glasgow was the third dirtiest city in the world.
It’s quite a claim. The survey is not scientific, it does not include all the cities of the world.
READ MORE: Is Glasgow the third dirtiest city in the world? Time Out magazine might be right
The same survey also found Glasgow to be the fourth best city in the world to visit.
The survey was based on the number of people in each city who responded and used the word dirty to describe where they live.
In Glasgow, 67% of participants said the expensive green place was dirty.
New York was voted the second dirtiest city and Rome the worst.
Also, New York, despite being the second dirtiest city, was voted the number one city people wanted to live and settle in.
A total of 27,000 people took part, across the world, in the cities where Time Out is read.
So, as people have pointed out, it is not based on any real independent inspections or official published data and is in no way scientific. Time Out doesn’t claim it’s scientific either, to be fair.
This is, however, a snapshot of the opinion of some people in some cities around the world.
So the investigation has flaws but there is still something in it. Glasgow residents called the city dirty.
READ MORE: Is Glasgow the third dirtiest city in the world? We test the verdict of Time Out magazine
Readers of this post described the city as dirty and social media is full of people saying Glasgow is dirty.
So at the Glasgow Times we decided to go around some parts of the city and search for ourselves and the job fell on yours truly.
Just as Time Out didn’t go to every city in the world or ask people in every city, we didn’t go to every street and every neighborhood in Glasgow.
We looked at a snapshot of certain streets on certain days. We found streets that were clean, others dirty and others very dirty.
Why is there so much waste?
Scotland produces 2.4 million tonnes of household waste and much of it is thrown away and much of it is dumped on the streets.
In the streets and on the side of the road at some sites, we saw large quantities of food and drink packaging.
READ MORE:Cleaning staff are cut again as Glasgow is voted one of the dirtiest cities in the world
At two sites to the north, one at Possil Road and the other just half a mile further north on Keppochhill Road, there were what would have been several bags full of rubbish had they been bagged.
It was mostly paper and plastic packaging from some of the biggest names in food and drink.
There were plastic Coca-Cola and Irn-Bru cans and bottles, Costa coffee mugs, Subway mugs, McDonald’s burger boxes, and cups.
However, there are none of these fast food outlets nearby and there are few shops nearby either.
Take the Possil road. The nearest McDonald’s is at Maryhill Road 2.5km or 2.1km at Springburn Road. Same for all other outlets.
These products are bought somewhere, consumed somewhere and the packaging thrown away as rubbish in our street.
It didn’t fall from the sky and the council didn’t put it there. It is thrown by people. People who make a bad situation worse.
Most of what was thrown on the streets could and should have been recycled. All plastic bottles, all paper and cardboard packaging could, if people bothered, be put in a recycling bin or taken home and put in the recycling bin.
Saracen Street in Possilpark and Paisley Road West in Cessnock were the dirtiest we saw.
Saracen Street, the council said, was cleaned once a week by a mechanical sweeper and twice a week by a waste picker walking with a trolley.
It looked like several days of garbage on the street. A very depressing scene for those who live there.
Along both streets there was also identifiable commercial waste from stores piled up for collection.
It was far too much to be left on the street and looked like rather than stored indoors until collection as is the requirement it was put on the street and left for ages days.
What can we do there?
There are different strands here ranging from more board action, companies doing their part and of course there has to be some degree of personal accountability.
As a society, we produce far too much waste, especially in packaging, and we don’t dispose of it properly.
There is, as people across the city have said, a need for a bigger, more focused response to keep the city clean.
The council again reduced the number of cleaning staff in the last budget, which is not helpful. Six years ago we had 527 street cleaners, today it is 427.
And if people could stop littering, whether walking down the streets or out of car windows, that would be great.