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Being Clean and Green for the Games and beyond

Derek Robertson, Keep Scotland Beautiful

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of Keep Scotland Beautiful explains how the Clean and Green 2014 Legacy programme is inspiring communities to take pride in the appearance of their neighbourhood.

I'm told there will be many thousands of Commonwealth Games tourists in Scotland in July. With millions more watching Scotland through their TV screens, what will the world think of our country and think of us?

I want Scotland to be seen at its best during the Games, not just for visitors but for those of us who live here too. I want to feel proud of where I live. I want to see our children’s parks free of dog fouling and our streets and countryside free of litter and flytipping and I know I’m not alone.

Over £1m a week is spent in Scotland on picking up litter. When you walk home, look around you. Litter looks terrible, it blocks our drains, harms wildlife and no one likes it. The good news is that the country is starting to take action and the Clean and Green Legacy 2014 programme is stimulating communities to come together and to take responsibility for how our communities look.

Amazingly 250,000 have been involved, getting out and about to clean up Scotland in their spare time. These include participants in our 'Right Royal Clean Up' a legacy action which has stimulated community groups to come together and to turn neglected spaces into happy places which are now community assets.

But we are not just interested in clean up activity. We are keen to leave a legacy of greening up behaviour. For many of us it’s difficult to know what we can do, what practical actions we could take to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The problems seem so huge that we sometimes wonder what difference we can make.

Our legacy programme has been working with schools and community groups to develop environmental education projects. One of these projects, the brilliant One Planet Picnic is encouraging young people and adults alike to think about how far food travels from field to fork, packaging and food waste. We had a simple idea that's really caught on. We created some materials and hundreds of schools, community groups and businesses have organised a picnic with friends and colleagues and used this opportunity to learn about things like food miles and the small steps that we can all take for a more sustainable future.

These are just a few of the elements of the Clean and Green 2014 Legacy programme and I think Scotland can be hugely proud of its response. Across the country there are thousands of small local actions taking place that bring people together, improving quality of life as well as improving quality of the environment.

I’m off for lunch… what are you having ?

Find out more about the Clean and Green 2014 programme