BBC Question Time: ‘Embarrassing’ Glasgow city full of ‘rubbish and rats’ prior to COP26

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All eyes will be set on Glasgow at the end of the month as the city will host the global COP26 summit. But the leaders, media, lobbyists and influential people in attendance might have a surprise when reaching the Scottish city.

As explained by three different members of the audience on BBC Question Time, international travellers should expect to see a town full of “rubbish and rats.”

According to one Glasgonian audience member, the pandemic has heavily impacted the city’s cleaning services to the extent that she thinks it will be “embarrassing” for Glasgow to be “portrayed on the world’s stage” with uncollected waste in its streets.

Kate Forbes, the Scottish SNP Finance Secretary, answered that some work was already ongoing.

“People are working on a daily basis ensuring rubbish is collected and fly-tipping is cleared and the graffitis are wiped off.”

The audience quipped back: “The Scottish Government tends to put a plaster over things.”

He then said that lots of efforts had been done for three weeks prior to the summit, but wondered what would happen in the future.

“When this international event ends, we will come back to litter everywhere,” he predicts.

The leader of the Scottish Labour Party also mentioned that strikes from public service workers are scheduled in two weeks.

“We have our cleaning workers going on strike during COP26 because of the state of our streets and the cuts in public services,” said Anas Sarwar.

He also claimed other services would go on strike such as bus drivers.

Other panellists took a completely different approach to the question such as Professor Heather McGregor, Executive Dean of Edinburgh Business School, who said rubbish isn’t an issue.

“Adam Smith studied here 300 years ago and there was no rubbish collection in those days.

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“It was still the best city in the world.

“I think it’s going to be a great two weeks, rubbish or not.”

One last Glasgonian added after Ms McGregor that the rubbish in the streets might give “a mixed message” to COP26 attendees that will be embarrassing for the city.

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