Clean Up Scotland, the national anti-litter campaign run by Scotland’s independent environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, has joined with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in calling for the public to do their bit to prevent litter fires ahead of bonfire night.
The annual Fire Statistics Scotland report for 2012/13 from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service found that a total of 4,969 fires involving refuse, rubbish and flytipping (known as secondary fires) were started in Strathclyde last year.
And of these, over 95 per cent were started deliberately, and almost half (2,359) involved loose rubbish – in other words litter and flytipping.
The estimated financial cost of emergency service attendance at these fires in Strathclyde in 2012/13 is almost £10 million. That does not include the cost to businesses, homeowners and local authorities for replacing fire damaged skips and wheelie bins.
Clean Up Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have estimated that the quantities of CO2 released into the atmosphere by fires involving rubbish and refuse in Strathclyde in 2012/13 was likely to be over 23 million tonnes, and may have been as much as 93 million tonnes.
Carole Noble, head of environmental services at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Something big needs to happen now to change our nation’s attitudes to the casual disposal of litter and mess.
“Flytipping is not a victimless crime. There is a substantial cost to the emergency services of almost £10 million in Strathclyde alone, not to mention the cost of clearing it from council land.
“It is up to the authorities to deal with deliberate fires of contained waste in wheelie bins and skips, but we all have a role to play to prevent fires involving litter and flytipping by not creating it in the first place.
“Bonfire Night seems like an ideal time to change our attitude towards the casual disposal of litter and waste.
“It is illegal and dangerous, and with the world watching us in 2014 it is a good time to cut it out.”