A CRACKDOWN on littering has been announced in a bid to create the most pristine image of the country ahead of the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in 2014.

With thousands of overseas visitors due in Scotland for the premier sporting events, an extra £300,000 in funding has been given to Zero Waste Scotland to spearhead new ways of cleaning up litter, in addition to the £1.8 million already made available this year.

The Scottish Government will also bring together different groups for an anti-litter summit early in 2013.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said this was the first time a national anti-litter strategy has been put in place since the start of devolution.

He said: "Litter continues to let Scotland down and it is essential this level of positive action is taken to rid our country of this unnecessary eyesore. This is particularly important as we prepare to host world-renowned events, like the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games in 2014.

"It's staggering to think that on average almost four plastic bottles and three drinks cans can be found on every 100 metres of motorway and trunk roads alone in Scotland.

"The impacts of littering are far-reaching. It is bad for the environment, wildlife, and communities, and wastes resources which should be re-cycled. It also costs the taxpayer millions to clean it up. We need to change our attitude to litter and create a culture where it is viewed as completely unacceptable."

Zero Waste Scotland funds clean-ups and community projects delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful. Its National Spring Clean has grown from 11,500 volunteers taking part in 2007 to almost 120,000 in 2012.

Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: "A new strategy for litter in Scotland will create an approach different from anything that's gone before. Immediate clean-up measures will help remove unsightly blights spoiling Scotland's communities. But focusing on preventing litter in the first place is the only way we will make a lasting difference."