By Guillermo Garrido
Glasgow, UK, Oct 13 (EFE).- With less than three weeks until Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate summit, Scotland’s largest city is facing a garbage crisis which the city council is denying despite complaints from residents and trade unions.
“Glasgow is in the midst of a cleansing crisis, and unfortunately I don’t think the city is ready to host any climate change conference. The city needs to get a grip of itself first,” Chris Mitchell, representative of the GMB trade union, told Efe.
The Glaswegian media have repeatedly denounced the problem, which has been brewing “over a period of 10 years,” said Sean Baillie, the union’s coordinator for Scotland.
“The Council (…) has amassed austerity cuts designed to save money and reduce the number of workers employed to collect waste and clean the streets that have reduced the capacity of the service to meet the demand of the city,” he told Efe.
A spokesperson for the council, which is governed by the Scottish National Party, said in statements to Efe that it had “protected” the waste collection system, pointing to the 18-million pounds ($24.5 million) that have been allocated to urban waste, which they claim is “twice the national average”.
The council and the unions have engaged in a war of words, with the former accusing the workers’ representatives of “ruining” the city’s reputation, while the latter insist that the investments “are not reflected in practice”.
AN UNEQUAL CITY
The dispute over waste collection is just another reflection of a city defined by widespread inequalities. Glasgow has the country’s highest child poverty rate at 32.2 %.
“Global leaders visiting Glasgow will see a drastically different city from those who live here,” Baillie said. The over 20,000 accredited delegates for COP26 will enjoy a secure perimeter, plus free public transport.