I AGREE with Andy Stenton (Letters, August 27) in his belief that persuading people to take responsibility for their rubbish and filth would make a huge difference. There are many countries where you see business owners washing the pavement in front of their premises every morning. In the United States, especially in more rural areas, there’s a long tradition of community groups going out a couple of times a year to pick litter from the verges of local roads.

Recently I was pleased to see that someone had cleared four bags of rubbish from the tiny burn that runs by the playpark near us. I remember years ago our daughter being concerned for the welfare of newts she’d seen in the burn, because of the rubbish. So I got my waders on and started clearing plastic bottles and the like. After a while, I stopped and went home for a coffee; by the time I came back, some eejit had thrown all the rubbish back in the burn.

As a nation, we’re not particularly clean in our public habits, and the bin strike simply amplifies a problem that is always there. We’ve managed to change attitudes towards drink driving and smoking in pubs and restaurants; surely we can persuade people to show some respect for the environment we all share.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


MUCH has been said and written about the refuse workers' strike, and, of course, we need to pay them a rate that matches the important work they do for us. However, there is more that needs to be done and we all, or most of us, have a role to play. In the very short term we need more bins on the street, to reduce the "excuse" of there being nowhere to put refuse.

Looking at the refuse currently littering our streets it is clear that there are longer-term actions needed. First, we need the deposit-return scheme for drinks bottles and cans brought in with no further delay, and secondly we need to address the widespread use of single-use cups for takeaway drinks, with the view that a cup is for life not just one latte or whatever. Reusable cups are on sale in many places and the cost of a single-use cup must rise to encourage use of a reusable one.

Takeaway food places have a role to play to reduce the waste they create too, but as a final step we need to have enforcement of our litter laws, to encourage a change of culture among so many people. Yes, it will cost to employ enforcement officers, but once we have reduced the causes of litter the on-the-spot fines should exceed these costs.

Patricia Fort, Glasgow.


COULD we as a country having come through Covid be on the brink of another pandemic brought on by the rotting litter on our streets?

It's an awful state of affairs that any group of workers can hold the country to ransom for their own ends.

Whilst I do have sympathy for the refuse collectors, this is not the way to get better wages and conditions.

Everybody wants a bigger pay packet but not everybody strikes.

I remember the time when the Army was brought in to do the job, going into back courts and rats were everywhere.

Please get round the table and deal with this before we have another pandemic on our hands.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.


TODAY (August 31) is International Overdose Awareness Day; events are taking place globally.

Today we reflect upon the focus of today in overdose prevention; there is within that hope the establishment of overdose prevention centres which are hygienic, safe spaces where people are able to take drugs safely under the supervision of trained staff. They have access to sterile equipment and staff can respond immediately to overdose. What's not to like about that?

Today, though, there remain those who are blinded by prejudice against progressive reforms. The Westminster Government's drugs minister last year said stigma must remain a tool to be used against people engaging in drug misuse; the UK's principal drugs law (the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) is more than 50 years old and if it was ever effective it most certainly is not fit for purpose in 2022.

Today let us remember too that there were 109 deaths as a result of drug misuse in Edinburgh during 2021, up from 92 the year previous and the highest figure ever recorded in the city. Across Scotland there were nine fewer lives lost in 2021 than 2020, the First Minister taking to Twitter to say this is "welcome".

Today let us hold the feet of our politicians to the fire. Whether in the Scottish Parliament or council chambers across Scotland, they will be judged.

Today I remember, as will many, a problematic drug user saying "you politicians keep talking whilst we keep dying".

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh.


BEING an only child, Catriona Stewart’s article (“Don’t worry about only children, we’re fine”, The Herald, August 30), resonated with me.

I attended primary school during the Second World War, my father was away serving King and Country, and I would have liked a brother or sister, but with coupon-controlled rationing for clothing and basic foods, I was always put off with “we don’t have enough coupons”.

Some time later, by which time I was versed in the “birds and the bees”, a relative told me my originators had taken one look and decided “We can’t do any better than that. Let’s call it a day”, kindly omitting a conditional “if”.

But I sometimes wonder: what if Hitler had never invaded Poland, of if there had been no rationing?

R Russell Smith, Largs.


MY wife and I visited our local cash and carry this afternoon and were alarmed to see an assortment of Christmas merchandise for sale. Is August 29 a record?

Too close to the first cuckoo in spring for me.

Willie Towers, Alford.