Fly-tipped and bins fit to burst

Dear Editor

I was appalled to read about the thoughtless dumping of food beside a communal street wheelie bin in Bellevue (Breaking news, 9.4.14). I can fully sympathise with the local residents as we have a similar recurring problem of fly tipping and abandoned refuse at the west end of Cumberland Street. 

Apart from discarded black-plastic waste bags, in recent years we have had all manner of household furniture and fittings, carpets, quilts, duvets, kitchen tops, mirrors, electrical goods and even garden waste discarded by the wheelie bins and on the pavement. Most of the fly tipping is done after dark, often late at night, clearly by selfish thoughtless people who know full well it is wrong and anti-social. No doubt they feel that, once discarded the rubbish, is no longer their problem. However, it then becomes the problem of those living near the wheelie bins.

As the mornings get lighter earlier, the tedious problems of seagulls tearing open the bags looking for food will soon be with us again. I have regularly tidied up discarded rubbish from the pavement if only on health grounds. A very unpleasant job at times. On one occasion, the huge pile of rubbish left by the bins was photographed by some astonished overseas tourists! 

Our situation at west Cumberland Street is exacerbated by a lack of communal bin capacity. At a meeting in the Cumberland Bar between concerned residents and the Council refuse officials in Spring 2012, it was agreed to locate four wheelie bins in each half of Cumberland Street to address the problem of littering caused by household waste left out on the pavement for collection. Eight wheelie bins were regarded by the refuse officials as sufficient for the number of households in Cumberland Street. However, once in position, the street bins were also used by residents from St Vincent’s Street, St Vincent’s Place, Circus Lane and beyond. On one memorable occasion, I was walking down India Street when a resident appeared carrying a carpet. He carried the carpet all the way down to Cumberland Street to dump it by the wheelie bin!  As there are wheelie bins in Dundas Street, there seems to be is less of a problem with the central Cumberland Street bins.

I raised the issue of  fly tipping and the inadequate capacity of the the west Cumberland Street wheelie bins with City officials in December 2012. I got no reply from a local councillor, but a community waste officer did reply saying that the ‘Modernising Waste Team is currently working on what form of containerisation would suit the remaining streets in the city centre’. That was over 16 months ago and still nothing has appeared to address this serious environmental issue not to mention the matter of civic pride in our wonderful city.

I feel sorry for the refuse service staff who do a good job in a high-density city centre – after all, it is a few selfish residents who are the problem. If I have one criticism, it is that the collection teams who empty the communal bins put aside any fly-tipped rubbish. There seems to be no facility, or volition, for them to inform the refuse department that bulky items have been fly-tipped and will require collection. It seems to me they rely entirely on the local residents ringing the department for a one-off collection.

How many prosecutions have there been for fly tipping? Many a time have I seen identifiable names and addresses on discarded rubbish. Having said, that I have also seen people remove bags from full wheelie bins and place them on the pavement so they can then dispose of their own rubbish.

I have attached a few random photos taken over the past 15 months or so which illustrate the problem. You could have had dozens more.


Dr Ian Shaw
Cumberland Street