Council vows to take action on rubbish following Evening News pledge

CITY bosses have today vowed to act on any photos of overflowing bins and mess highlighted as part of the Evening News' Bin Watch campaign.

Thursday, 8th September 2016, 8:14 am
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 4:07 pm
Readers have sent in numerous pictures from the streets. Picture; contributed

Their pledge comes the day after we asked for your pictures and horror stories – in a bid to clean up the Capital’s streets once and for all.

Over the past 24 hours we have been inundated with snaps showing the shocking extent of the problem, from litter-strewn pavements to bursting bags piled high beside communal bins.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, said she would act on images brought to her attention – and “look to see what action can be taken to ensure it does not happen again”.

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Picture contributed

Yesterday, we asked residents from across the city to help us highlight problem hotspots in a bid to force the council into action.

Hundreds of you answered the call. None of the contributions was pretty – some were genuinely shocking – but all will help crack down on a problem that’s been plaguing the Capital for too long.

One Pilton resident sent photos of rubbish piled up around communal bins between West Pilton Crossway and West Pilton Gardens.

The 46-year-old council employee, who asked not to be named, said black bags often spilled on to the walkway, with mattresses and old sofas dumped behind nearby houses.

Picture contributed

She added: “It’s just ridiculous. There’s vermin going about – rats and mice. And it’s not just this area – it’s the whole of West Pilton and Muirhouse. Everywhere’s the same.

“It’s been going on for about a year now. We arranged a community clean-up last November and we got rid of it, but since then it’s got a hundred times worse. I’ve taken photos of vans dumping rubbish.”

Elsewhere, disturbing images of large rats were snapped by a resident on Ramsay Garden, who said vermin had been breeding in a broken bin, with no action taken.

Another reader who lives on Brunswick Road said her bins had not been emptied for three weeks, despite “multiple calls” to the council.

Her pictures show rubbish bags spilling out of a communal bin shed, with plastic bottles, alcohol containers and old takeaway boxes also shoved into the mix.

David McGuinness, from South Queensferry, got in touch via email to hit out at the “atrocious state of Edinburgh’s streets and surrounding districts”.

He volunteers with a local group called “Cleanferry”, whose members regularly clean up the town and surrounding area in their spare time.

He said: “Visitors to Edinburgh – especially around festival time – have been subjected to this filth in our streets for years and it’s a wonder any of them return.

“I live in South Queensferry and the same problems blight our community in just about every quarter of the town.

“This is always at its worst during Ferry Fare week but it is basically a year-round problem.” He said council staff “eagerly support” the work of the volunteers, but “are subject to budgetary cuts and cannot do anymore than they do”. He added: “The variety and volume of rubbish is mind-blowing.

“South Queensferry is a magnet for cruise liners and tourists virtually all year round and the bridge now has World Heritage recognition – [so] you would think the council would divert resources to address the mess.

“Despite Cleanferry being in its infancy and having no financial support, it is having an impact and local businesses are now taking an interest and supporting the initiative.”

Ann Millar, 60, said she had been reporting problems with an overflowing bin in Royston Mains Crescent for six months.

She said the council had eventually visited the site two weeks ago and insisted it would be prioritised, only for nothing to be done.

She added: “I can’t open my bedroom window because the smell wafts through the house.

“It’s just absolutely shocking. It’s unacceptable.”

Readers also reached out on social media to highlight bins that are repeatedly left uncollected and overflowing.

Problem hotspots include Leith Walk, Johnston Terrace and the roads around Craigentinny Primary School – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Pictures published today show a communal bin tipped on its side in Inverleith, communal and trade bins surrounded by debris at Potterrow, and crammed bins in Stockbridge and the New Town.

And images also flooded in showing bags of rubbish and household items discarded behind shops in Drylaw.

Fed-up residents said the issue had been reported to the council more than two months ago, but nothing had so far been done.

Cllr Hinds has vowed to tackle the issue.

She said: “We are absolutely committed to delivering the best possible services we can for the people of Edinburgh.

“We fully appreciate how frustrating overflowing bins can be for residents and we’re working extremely hard to make significant improvements across the board.”

She added: “I would encourage residents to report any problems they have in their area.

“If the Evening News pass on details of areas where there are problems I will get them sorted and look to see what action can be taken to ensure it does not happen again.”

SINCE the Evening News launched our Bin Watch campaign yesterday, the reaction has been overwhelming.

Hundreds of readers have been in touch to highlight problem hotspots, with Tory leader Ruth Davidson and several senior city councillors also pledging their support.

Ms Davidson shared our front page online and tweeted: “Great idea to help clean up our city.”

Elsewhere, broadcaster and PR boss Stephen Jardine tweeted: “Well done @edinburghpaper on your Bin Watch campaign – let’s hope it forces @Edinburgh_CC into action.”

We want you to let us know if you spot rubbish piling up on the streets or bins left to overflow for days. Send us your pictures using Facebook or Twitter, 
or email them to us at [email protected]

Alternatively, call our newsdesk on 0131-311 7538 if you just want to alert us to a problem.

With your help, we can highlight this issue until something is done. As we said yesterday, the time has come for action.