Each day social media is full of posts about the rubbish and mess that abounds in Merton and other localities. I don’t seek these posts they are there in their droves . Just search for #muckymerton and see what emerges.
The pattern is too familiar. Fewer collections of any type, rubbish dumped at bins , rubbish just dumped. End result is a total mess and more rats. I have seen more rats this year 2018 than in the combined 20+ years I have been living in the area. This is not even mentioning the mess foxes make . Take a walk through any Merton area around midnight to 5 am and the foxes are having a party. They are breeding well and in our area Monday night is festival night for them. Folks put their rubbish out for a Tuesday collection and the foxes firstly collect it then spread it over whole streets. We must accept that we are partially at fault here as asked to put rubbish out by 6 am . And everyone loves getting up at 6 am to do this.
Merton has been trialling things that are certainly unconventional. In the face of ever increasing mess and litter in some areas and parks they are removing waste bins and replacing them with , well, nothing.
I am no refuse disposal expert but then clearly neither are the council. But what I do see is other cities and towns in Europe that are devoid of rubbish and clean despite having far more citizens and visitors. Earlier this year I wrote a post on Ljubljana in Slovenia where underground rubbish and recycling bins provide an excellent solution.
The collection is also simpler with workers not having to handle any of the lovely rubbish and recycling.
What prompted me to write this article today is Berlin. This is summer . Tourist peak season. Temperatures around 34c . Yet walking to some business appointments there is no rubbish. Bins are either empty or certainly not full. Containers like small skips allow rubbish and recycling to be collected. Maybe the mentality is better too. Less fly tipping and discarding aimlessly of rubbish. Simply Berlin is clean. Whatever systems are used and funded Merton and other councils could do worse than learning about and adopting .
Following my post on Ljubljana I learned that such underground recycling and rubbish collection facilities are available in parts of Southern Spain and Northern England. This is not futuristic thinking its plain common sense and needs funding and adoption.
To me the way things are going in Merton, watching rats run free next to roads , rubbish piled up and bins overflowing, we have a system that is not working and in many regards is not unlike London in the 1700’s. Whoever decides , funds and is accountable is failing the residents. The better step is adoption of change , not reducing collections . Look for alternative options. Otherwise, I can see legal challenges from residents who pay their council taxes. We are traveling right now in the wrong direction.