COP26: Plastic spotted washed up on shore in Glasgow
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COP26 begins in earnest on Monday, November 1, as delegates from all over the world descend on Glasgow for the landmark climate change conference. While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is already facing questions over the carbon footprint of a global event such as this, the Scottish city is now raising eyebrows amid reports of appalling pollution and violent rodents in the streets.
Thousands of Glasgow council workers, including rubbish collectors and street cleaners, will strike from Monday over a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
Last-minute attempts to avert the action failed on Sunday, with the week ahead promising bins overflowing with refuse as the eyes of the world look to Glasgow.
Glasgow streets are already beset by problems caused by a persistent fly-tipping problem: namely large, violent rats, Politico reports.
Refuse workers have allegedly been attacked by the rats, with one bin man sent to hospital for a Tetanus shot.
He said his colleagues were “petrified” about the growing population of large rats gathering among rubbish piles in the city.
And on Sunday, COP26 youth hub Extreme Hangout reported a huge plastic patch washing up outside its venue on the River Clyde.
A spokesperson for The Extreme Hangout told Express.co.uk: “Just as the finishing touches were being made to transform The Ferry on the River Clyde into the Extreme Hangout at COP26, along came a floating island of garbage littered with single-use plastic…a stark reminder of why we are all here trying to figure this mess out.”
Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) came under fire last month when Glasgow’s SNP city councillor Susan Aitken said the city just needed a “wee spruce up” ahead of COP26.
Glasgow MSP Sandesh Gulhane, who represents the opposition Scottish Conservatives, told Politico: “The city is in an absolutely sorry state.
“Make no bones about it: We have an absolutely disgusting, filthy city full of rubbish.
“To say that Glasgow ‘needs a wee spruce-up’ is the most out-of-touch thing that I have ever heard.”
Ms Sturgeon has accepted that Glasgow has cleaning issues ahead of COP26 but has pointed to “similar” problems in other cities.
She told the Scottish Parliament last week she won’t “shy away from the problems and challenges” the city faces but also attacked those she felt had “talked down [Glasgow] for political purposes.”
Over the coming two weeks, some 25,000 delegates and more than 120 politicians and heads of state will descend on Glasgow.
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In addition, some 100,000 activists are expected to make their way to the city, with Ms Sturgeon calling on protestors to “show consideration for the city and the people who live here”.
She said: “The people of Glasgow are opening their city up to the world at what is a difficult time for everybody around the world.
“I hope those who are travelling into the city, welcome though they are, recognise that.”
The First Minister said Glasgow has hosted major events before but the size, scale and significance of the summit was unprecedented.
She added: “It could quite literally determine the future of the planet.”
COP26 will run until November 12 and is intended to be a major global shift on the ever-pressing problem of climate change.
The UK is hosting the summit amid mounting concern among scientists that countries are not doing enough to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases, which have caused average global temperatures to rise.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the world is now at “one minute to midnight” to combat climate change, saying it was time to move from “aspiration to action” to slow global warming.
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