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Fortnightly collection of rubbish an unmitigated disaster

Keith Parkins | 26.03.2007 16:19 | Health | Repression | Social Struggles | Oxford

Across the country, fortnightly collection of rubbish has proved to be an unmitigated disaster.

'We are not going back to weekly collections... it would be a U-turn. I am not for turning on this.' -- Jean Fooks, Councillor for a Cleaner City, Oxford

'In my view it would be entirely inappropriate to withdraw the trial.' -- David Quirk, Head of Environment, Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

Around 100 local authorities across the country have moved to fortnightly collection of rubbish. Many more are thinking of doing so or are in the process of doing so.

Recycling is being used as the excuse to cut services, but it has nothing to do with recycling and everything to do with cutting services to the public.

Two councils that have recently cut services from weekly to fortnightly collection are Oxford and the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, and in both cases it has proved to be an unmitigated disaster, and led to widespread public anger.

Oxford now has overflowing bins, rubbish dumped in the street. The person responsible for this disaster in Oxford is arrogant Jean Fooks, with the Orwellian title of Councillor for a Cleaner City. This arrogant woman has made it clear she has no interest in the views of Oxford residents, and a reduced service is here to stay. Her response to overflowing bins and rubbish in the streets is to threaten residents with fines.

No surprise then that residents have told her to Fook Off!

The counterpart to Fooks in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is the arrogant Roland Dibbs and his sidekick David Quirk, both show the same arrogant contempt for the local community as Fooks.

The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor consists of Aldershot and Farnborough.

In Aldershot, there are streets where the stench from the rubbish is overpowering (and it is not yet summer), rubbish everywhere, the Wellington monument in a little wooded copse, has become a favourite spot for fly-tipping, but still these two arrogant clowns think they know best. Both residents and bin men have complained that fortnightly collection is an unmitigated disaster, but no one is listening.

Alton, just south of Aldershot, now has a major problem with the burning of rubbish. In the summer, residents have to close their windows, such is the level of air pollution from back garden burning of rubbish.

In Ireland, back garden burning of rubbish is such that it is now a major contributor to deteriorating air quality. Half of all the cancer-causing dioxins in the air now come from household waste being burnt by local residents to avoid waste disposal taxes. Dioxins are among the most toxic substances known to man and can cause tumours and birth defects.

The UK is now facing an epidemic of fly-tipping. Few cases ever result in prosecution, on the other hand local authorities are quick to hand out on-the-spot fines for overflowing bins or other minor infringements such as putting bins out on the wrong day, putting rubbish in the wrong bin or leaving a wheelie bin lid open.

In Germany, rats are having a bean feast on food flushed into the sewers.

Pest control operatives have warned of an explosion of rat population due to reduced refuse collection service and proliferation of fast food takeaways.

In Sweden and Norway, bin men are suffering long-term respiratory problems due to breathing in bio-aerosols from decaying putrescent waste.

The World Health Organisation has warned of the need to collect refuse at least once a week in temperate climates. As the climate warms up, it will prove necessary to collect waste 2-3 times a week.

You do not cut corners where public health is concerned. Recycling should not be used as an excuse to cut public services.

If we wish to improve our abysmal recycling rates, then we should focus on recycling, not on using it as an excuse to cut services. This means encouraging and educating people to separate their waste and put it in the appropriate bins, cutting down the amount of waste, encouraging home composting. It means targetting the supermarkets and their excess packaging, not punishing householders for something that is outside of their control.



James Chapman, Health fears over rubbish taxes that could encourage 'backyard burning', The Mail on Sunday, 20 March 2007

Martin Delgado, New rubbish bin tax 'will cost families £20 a week', The Mail on Sunday, 10 March 2007

Steve Doughty, Health alert that went unheeded over cuts in bin rounds, Daily Mail, 26 February 2007

Marcus Mabberley, Councillors and dustman trash the trial, Aldershot News, 27 February 2007

Rowena Mason, Bin study tells of hygiene risk, Oxford Mail, 27 February 2007

Cliff Mogg, Call to halt bins trial, Surrey-Hants Star, 15 March 2007

Cliff Mogg, Info blitz on bins at army homes, Surrey-Hants Star, 22 March 2007

Keith Parkins, Natural Capitalism,, October 2000

Keith Parkins, A sense of the masses - a manifesto for the new revolution,, October 2003

Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city,, April 2006

Keith Parkins, Recycling – a tale of two councils, Indymedia UK, 5 January 2007

Keith Parkins, Fortnightly rubbish collection creating a plague of rats, Indymedia UK, 8 January 2007

Keith Parkins, Recycling – the good, the bad and the ugly, Indymedia UK, 7 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Recycling in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor goes from bad to worse, Indymedia UK, 9 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Green waste recycling, Indymedia UK, 12 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Recycling and waste reduction being used as an excuse to cut services, Indymedia UK, 19 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Axe the Bin Tax, Indymedia UK, 23 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Opposition grows in Rushmoor to cuts in refuse collection, Indymedia UK, 27 February 2007

Recycling 'risks binmen's lungs', BBC News on-line, 29 March 2003

Giles Sheldrick, Bin policy ‘is not for turning’, Oxford Mail, 12 March 2007

Keith Parkins
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Hide the following 4 comments

blah bollocks blah

26.03.2007 17:28

blah blah whatever blah, and here's a few references, written by, er, me (for the most part; oh yeah, there is the one from the people who make money killing rats, saying, er, more rats - hoorah, or the ones that quote a study that says don't extrapolate, and you, er, extrapolate...).

People know about recycling, there's enough propaganda and info out there, or put through our doors, for how many years now? Some people do it, most don't, and don't give a thought (but do give several fucks -> more kids -> more rubbish -> no future for those kids) to the future and therefore recycling.

You can say it's just about more education until we all die in a sea of rubbish but it'll only be too late. The point needs to be made a little more forcefully.

It's completely in householders power to change how much shit they chuck out. Nuff whingeing thanks (sure you'll have a thing to say or 5 though).

i've got a bee in my bonnet


26.03.2007 21:06

you need to start a campaign for local people to get together to take their rubbish en masse to their town halls on the alternate weeks when it's not collected, and leave it in the foyer. Better still, perhaps Mrs Fooks would like to take responsibility for it all. She might have a garden...

Fook Fooks

uncollected rubbish

27.03.2007 12:48

No disrepect Keith,

I do know the hassle and mess that uncollected rubbish means. The associated health risks I mainly took to local residents and not the bin-men so thanks for that information.

At the end of the day (fortnight?) though, we all produce too much rubbish whatever happens to it after that. The first principle is to consume less. I don't doubt this is council deliberately cutting back services, but maybe this is a good thing in this case.

There was one local council near where I stay that refused to pick up any street litter for a month, simply to shock the local residents into putting their litter into a bin. It was a bin-mans (sorry, refuse-collectors ) idea. It worked - although at first there was more litter on the streets, now there is much less litter thoughtlessly dropped

There isn't enough land to fill. We need to stop buying crap and accepting useless packaging. One other idea that has been proposed is to dump all the useless packaging you buy at the check-out till of the shop you are buying it from, let the producers deal with it.

All I'm saying is there are a number of strategies to tackle the problem, hope you take this onboard.

Remember you're a womble !



27.03.2007 15:14

Agreed, there are a number of strategies to cut down on waste, cutting services to once a fortnight should not be one of them.

We should not be putting public health at risk.

I generate vry little waste, my bins are almost empty, but I still want a weekly collection.

In France and Spain they collect more than once a week, produce less waste and do better than the UK at recycling.

The current issue of The Ecolgist has some interesting comments.