West Lothian Litter Pickers (WLLP) was founded in 2019. It is a voluntary group made up of 3,500 members all with one aim – to clean up West Lothian and bring about a change in culture.
I think you will be shocked at the litter and fly tipping epidemic we are currently facing in West Lothian. Since the group began, we have collected over 30,000 bags of litter as well as many fly tipped items. This is on top of what West Lothian Council picks up daily. The county has seen an astronomical rise in litter and fly tipping since Covid began. Traditionally fly tipping used to be industrial waste but we are now seeing a worrying trend of household waste being dumped. Through the experience of organised events and individual litter picks the most common issues West Lothian face is;
*Dropping of litter, in particular from vehicles, schools, industrial estates, retail car parks, laybys, main roads, slip roads and sports venues.
*Increase in dog poo, especially bagged waste being dropped or hanging from trees.
*Increase in ‘drinking’ dens and burning of household bins.
*Fly tipping, as mentioned previously, including household waste, asbestos and tyres.
*Sewage and litter in the river Almond.
WLLP has quarterly meetings with West Lothian Council in a bid to tackle some of these issues. The council has education and enforcement officers who are constantly trying to tackle industries, retail and education. Current methods are not working as the amount and cost of litter escalates every year. The council is already under extreme pressure due to staff shortages and budget cuts. Scotland and the whole of the UK have reached crisis point. There are no longer any clear, national litter campaigns. The effect of all this litter/fly tipping not only has an environmental impact but will also affect tourism. Even prior to Covid the number one negative feedback from Scottish tourism was the amount of litter noticed by visitors.
In order to turn this problem around laws need to be changed and individuals/businesses be held accountable for their actions. It is also vital that the UK tries to decrease single use plastic and reduce unnecessary packaging and waste. Litter is a criminal offence in Scotland. It is a big problem in the UK and a costly one. Even with the large amount of money already spent tidying it up, without the help of volunteers like the West Lothian Litter Pickers, the environment would be in a much poorer state than it is today.
So, what can you do as a Livingston Football Club supporter? It doesn’t get much simpler than this;
PLEASE DISPOSE OF YOUR LITTER RESPONSIBLY – DON’T CHUCK IT, PUT IT IN THE BUCKET. HELP LOOK AFTER YOUR COMMUNITY – ACT LOCAL THINK GLOBAL.