Pensioner’s rubbish ‘not collected for two months’

Annette Kurth with the bin that hasn't been emptied since September 6th
Annette Kurth with the bin that hasn't been emptied since September 6th
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A PENSIONER who claims her rubbish has not been collected for nearly two months says her bin smelled like an open sewer.

Annette Kurth said repeated pleas for help and e-mails to the council went unheeded for weeks – leaving her with a bin that smelled like “downtown Lagos” in Nigeria.

The 61-year-old, who has trouble lifting heavy objects, is supposed to receive specialist help, as she registered for the council’s assisted uplift service.

This should see bin workers come right up to her door to collect and empty her full bin. But the tour guide claims this hasn’t happened since September 6.

The Colinton Road resident said: “Everything was fine until the new system came in. It seems that they have tried to implement it before the proper structure was in place and now everyone is just running about like headless chickens.

“I supported what they were trying to do. We all need to be a bit more environmentally-friendly, but considering how much council tax we pay I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have your bins collected and your complaints dealt with in a timely manner.

“The smell coming from my bins is appalling.”

An e-mail Annette sent to the council on September 1 read: “I am somewhat concerned about the various bin collections. Can you please once again ensure that all of the refuse collectors are made aware of the fact I have an assisted bin collection?”

Annette, whose bins are visible from the road, says she began phoning the council every two or three days after uplifts suddenly stopped about a week later.

She continued: “I just kept being told the same things over and over again – that the problem would be dealt with and then nothing would happen. I was always just given the same e-mail address to send complaints to.

“I asked if a supervisor or manager could call me back, but no-one ever did. It seems like a never-ending saga.”

This week, after the Evening News contacted the council on Annette’s behalf, a spokesperson said that the first registered complaint they had from Annette was dated October 6 – a month later than she claims.

The spokesman said: “We apologise if some residents are still experiencing delays. Our staff are working as quickly as possible to get to any households that report a missed collection. We have arranged for a crew to uplift Mrs Kurth’s bin and will investigate how we can prevent this happening again.”

Over the past two months, the council has faced a huge backlog of bin collections and a demand for recycling boxes after its switch to fortnightly collections.

In mid-October residents in a block of flats in Portobello complained about the “eye-watering” stench being given off by approximately 100 bin bags after uplifts failed to take place for six weeks.

The residents, who claimed they had phoned Edinburgh City Council every day, spoke out the day after environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds had said that crews were finally getting on top of the huge backlog after the switch to fortnightly collections.

• Do you have a bin collection- related problem we should look into? Call our newsdesk on 0131-620 8733.