A new survey of almost 11,000 sites across Scotland has found five out of six are littered, with one in 10 at an “unacceptable” level.
The new statistics have been revealed at a national seminar by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
They show that nine in 10 people believe littering is a problem across the country, after a year in which the pandemic disrupted normal cleaning services.
The most common litter is smoking-related – including cigarette butts – which were found at 64% of sites, while half of the places surveyed were littered with food and drink items.
In a sign of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact, there were more than two discarded PPE items for every kilometre surveyed.
‘We can all take responsibility’
Barry Fisher, the chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for those who work hard to keep our country litter free.
“And, it is clear, that for many, the impact that litter, dog fouling and graffiti, has on their communities and neighbourhoods is unacceptable, particularly in our most deprived communities.
“While no one organisation can solve this issue, individually we can all take responsibility and bin our litter or take it home and treat our country with respect.”
The data was shared at Scotland’s Local Environmental Quality Seminar, where Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform Mairi McAllan delivered the keynote speech.
Mr Fisher added: “Alongside The Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland we are committed to continuing efforts to support communities, local authorities, businesses, and national agencies to reverse the decline in environmental quality across Scotland.
“We must now build on the collaborative work we have started over the past 18months, to eradicate the selfish behaviours that impact our neighbourhoods and the places we visit.”