Sunday, 5 October 2008

Bin Madness

I was deeply upset to read that Plymouth City Council have gone ahead with plans for a fortnightly bin collection, It is already bad enough that the recycling is only collected once every two weeks but now the actual brown waste will be fortnightly too. I live in a small terrace house with no front garden and a very small rear courtyard. In the summer months the bins are very smelly by the end of a week but if I now have to wait two weeks for said bins to be collected then it will probably be impossible to sit out in my courtyard due to the smell of the bins which will of course attract seagulls and rats.

The Council had already made changes to my bin collections by imposing the use of hessian type bags to place the rubbish in, these do not contain any odours, are difficult to clean and are definitely not rat or bird proof. In addition to my concerns over the hygiene aspect of fortnightly bin collection there is the concern for the elderly residents in my street who will probably struggle to lift two weeks worth of rubbish, carry it through their house and place it safely outside their front door.

If, like me, you enjoy eating fresh fish and veg you will know that such items do not sit well in a bin over time, they tend to rot very quickly, the answer for many people is then to wrap such rubbish in large amounts of plastic which is hardly an environmentally friendly option.

I read a comment in the Herald from a council official stating how much better the new services will be - but for who? After reading some literature from the World Health organisation it seems that even in West Africa they have a better attitude towards waste disposal than us, they recommend daily bin collections! In addition to this they reward people who dispose of their waste correctly rather than punishing those who don't. Wouldn't it be nice to have reduction in council tax for being a good citizen!

On my travels I have noticed that most other countries adopt the daily bin option but rather than visiting each house or business there are communal bins that are emptied daily. This means that you just carry a very small amount of rubbish to your area bin on your way to work or just as part of your daily routine, it is simple, effective and much cheaper to run, it reduces the problem of pests and therefore makes for a more hygienic service. Of course this service fits with many communities. The communal collection points have varied bins to cater for all elements of recycling as well as general household waste. The communal bins are generally made of metal making them pest proof.

I think if we want a healthier Plymouth we have to tackle some of the ridiculous policies being introduced by our council, we already pay hideous amounts of council tax so should expect good services from the council in return for our high investment in them. Let's hope the move to reduce our bin collections to fortnightly will not result in another excuse to introduce more stealth taxes.

Whilst on the subject of the council I am still waiting for a response from Linda Bowyer, I spoke to her on the phone briefly about new guidelines for lap dancing / pole dancing clubs. She gave me her e-mail address and I sent her a lengthy e-mail, nearly 2 weeks later and I have had no reply. What is more shocking is the fact that in a recent council meeting the councillors discussing amendments to current lap dancing legislation admitted to never having been inside such a club. So to Vivien Pengelly, Linda Bowyer and Nicky Wilder: it would be my pleasure to take you to such a club so you can see for your selves and then at least you can make a more informed decision. Alternatively I may have a plan for another more public way of approaching the aforementioned councillors... Watch this space.......

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

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