More than 250 bin bags of litter were collected during a week-long clear-up on rural roads around Blantyre and Hamilton.
Among the 1.2 tonnes of bagged rubbish picked up across more than 10 miles of roads and verges, were hundreds of plastic bottles and cans that could have been recycled through the household waste service or disposed of in litter bins across South Lanarkshire.
Teams spent the first week of February clearing the illegally dumped waste which was strewn across Muttonhole Road, Blantyre Farm Road, Sydes Brae, Carscallan Road, and Newhousemill Road.
The cost to the council of carrying out the clean-up – including putting in place temporary road restrictions and disposing of the rubbish – was £9,700 which, according to Cllr John Anderson, Chair of the Community and Enterprise Resources Committee, could have been better spent.
He added: “It makes me so angry to see the results of this week of work; every penny and hour spent doing this is money and time lost to the council and its communities, all because a selfish few don’t think the rules apply to them.
“There is simply no excuse for this type of selfish and irresponsible behaviour which blights our environment and requires so much time, energy, and money to clean up.
“I’m particularly angry at the throwaway culture that seems to be so prevalent by many who drive our rural roads. So much of what was collected was bottles, cans or food containers, and wrappers, all of which can be disposed of easily, and in the majority of cases, recycled.
“What a disgrace that so many want to treat their town and environment like a glorified waste bin.
“I want to say sorry to all of those who were inconvenienced by the restrictions caused during the clean-up and thank them for their patience for what should be an unnecessary task.”
Penalties for those caught dropping litter in public range from £80, while the Illegal dumping of waste carries fines from £200. There is potential for criminal charges and even a prison sentence for the worst offenders.
A further programme of litter clean-ups is planned across the council area during March; full details will be publicised in advance.