4 OCTOBER 1997, Page 34

Terrible waste

Sir: I live in 'the other Edinburgh' (Andrew Neil, 23 August) and the leader of the council, Keith Geddes, who replied so indignantly (Letters, 20 September), is my local councillor. What I find bizarre about Mr Geddes's column and a half is that no mention of garbage is made. Litter and the squalor it creates in this beautiful city was the nub of Andrew Neil's piece.

I came from London a year ago and I can truthfully say that, apart from Athens, I have never lived in such a dirty place. I live — not in the Grange, not in Murrayfield, not in Momingside — but in the East End. We have no bins in which to put our small litter. These were removed by the council some years ago as a cost-cutting exercise. This means that generations of children are now brought up to throw their waste onto the street. The company making £22 mil- lion or so out of the cleaning contract clean ineptly when they do clean. Certain streets acquire a skin of dogshit, spilt fizzy drinks, piss and the odd pool of vomit. It is hardly surprising that the residents are depressed.

My street is a few hundred yards from Her Majesty's Scottish palace. It is just as well she doesn't stroll in her back yard. Even the New Town sometimes looks like the Third World. There is no excuse for this except parsimony and lack of vision. Everything that Andrew Neil said is true.

My own efforts to talk to Mr Geddes about this have been fruitless. He does not reply to letters; and the only time I went to one of his 'surgeries', he failed to appear. Sara Sharpe

27 Waverley Park, Edinburgh