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Why do people dump stuff on the street?

August 26, 2010

Piles of household rubbish dumped around a contractor's skip at Pembroke Street/Carnoustie Drive

Cally Councillor Paul Convery says the Borough needs to get stricter with street dumpers … including some of his own neighbours!

When contractors starting replacing the tiles on the roof of the “Wosem” evangelical church on Pembroke Street, Paul says he got worried. In July, the roofers placed a skip on a roadway that is part of the Bemerton Estate. It’s not a public highway. So they avoided having to get a skip licence.

As the work dragged-on for weeks, Paul noticed that the skip did not just contain builders’ debris. It was filling up with furniture, old clothes and black sacks.

Then 10 days ago, Paul bumped into a neighbour carrying a large green sack just like half a dozen or so which had begun to pile-up around the skip. “Oh”, she said, “you caught me. I don’t do this regularly”. So why do it all? This neighbour was moving home and perhaps figured she could just leave some sacks on the roadway as a parting gesture.

This sort of thing happens all the time. Rufford Street has a notorious spot next to two “Euro-bins” on the pavement which attracts all kinds of dumped rubbish. Kember Street (outside Residence Primrose) has the same problem. People seem to reckon that, if they leave lumber or sacks next to big bins or skips, it’s bound to be removed. Funnily enough that’s exactly what happens, eventually. Because someone will always call-out the Council’s cleansing service and clear the mess. In some peoples’ minds, they then reckon this is a regular service … and carry-on dumping.

This is daft. The Council runs weekly rubbish collections. They are reasonably good at keeping to schedule. The Council also has a “special collection” service to remove large items of lumber, fridges etc. Yet people keep on dumping.

What can be done? Paul says a carrot and stick approach is needed. “We need to impose maximum penalties on dumpers. But we also have to inform the public (even more) about regular garbage collections and special collections. But we should also put notices on lamposts in residential streets and main roads with simple information about collection times. Then there really will be no excuse.”

“Ultimately, the real problem is about changing attitudes. The vast majority of people are conscientious and considerate. They wouldn’t dump their garbage anymore than they would take a pee in the street. Because it’s their street! But we have a large transient population of folks who either don’t think or they don’t care. Or like my erstwhile neighbour, they really are ‘here today, gone tomorrow’.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 17, 2010 10:33 am

    The skip was taken away the day after this story was posted. But not in the usual way! Paul flashed his Councillor ID at the contractors and said “get this shifted, please”. But 2 days later they got another empty skip delivered, loaded it all up and scarpered-off, the re-roofing job was done. A couple of weeks elapsed whilst the Council and HfI deliberated about whose responsibility it was (the road is part of the Bemerton estate and not a public highway). Then, on the morning of 17th September a senior manager intervened and got the skip removed within 2 hours. The “Wosem” church will get invoiced for the expense.

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