MORE than 33,000 fines have been handed out for littering in Glasgow City Centre in the past four years figures show.

The area, with its high concentration of pubs, restaurants and shops, recorded the most fixed penalty notices in a breakdown of the city’s 23 wards.

Glasgow City Council said it hopes lockdown’s cleaner streets would encourage the public to be more mindful of the visual impact of littering.

The problem may be damaging the city's reputation as a visitor destination. Research shows littering is associated with increased levels of crime and makes people feel unsafe.

Glasgow Times:

Figures show a total of 33, 285 fines were issued by wardens from 2015-2019 in the city centre area while Southside Central which takes in Govanhill and the Gorbals had the second highest tally with 4,100 fines.

READ MORE: Glasgow City Council issues warning about litter in city's parks 

Victoria Park, which includes Broomhill, Jordanhill, Thornwood and Whiteinch had the lowest number of fines with just 57 issued in four years.

Govan recorded 1,924 fines, followed by the Calton area (1,988) then Hillhead at 1,198 and Shettleston with 1,064.

Unpaid fines can be referred to the procurator fiscal, who can then raise the £80 demanded to £2,500 if it is not settled but research has shown that as little as 46% of fines issued in Glasgow are actually paid.

The council say the fines are not about making money and offenders are offered a ‘fine or time’ penalty, where they can volunteer for a community clean-up.

Glasgow Times:

The data does show the number of fines dropped to its lowest levels in four years in 2019 at 4,601, compared with 13,623 in 2015.

When the Glasgow Times asked readers to name their biggest gripe about city life, dirty streets caused by fly tipping and littering was cited by more people than any other issue.

Charlie Fairley wrote: “Litter is a real issue, and makes Glasgow look like a tip.

“Bigger bins is not the solution. Teaching Glaswegians the basics of putting litter in a bin might help, with actual campaigns. 

“It is embarrassing when people, not from Glasgow, come to visit me, and I have tell them to excuse the mess on the streets.”

READ MORE: Paesano will re-cycle discarded pizza boxes after park pictures emerge 

However Dr Chris Hand, a psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University, said it is important to recognise that not all litter is deliberate.

He said: “What we know from research is that when people see litter in a place it makes it seems more acceptable for them to litter. 

"A lot of people have been talking about the improvements but what we have seen as lockdown has eased is a rapid return.

“A lot of it comes down to infrastructure.  People may be trying to put their rubbish in bins but for obvious reasons the bins aren’t being collected as often as before.

"More people could take litter home though.

“We know that people associate increases in litter with crime and violence. It really undermines a lot of confidence. They don’t feel safe and secure.”

Jon Molyneux, Green councillor for Pollokshields said food businesses must take more responsibility. Pizza firm Paesano offered to cover recycling costs after pictures emerged of boxes dumped on the ground.

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He said: “We need the ‘new normal’ to include forcing the businesses who are ultimately responsible for driving our throwaway culture to change their ways.” 

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said:  “It’s evident we can all play a part in making our city a cleaner and safer place.  

“We use a range of measures and initiatives to tackle the problem, with an overall focus on prevention and changing behaviour. 
“We  hope the public will be more mindful of the costly consequence of dropping litter as we ease out of lockdown.”