Bethnal Green rubbish 'attracts rats' as 'pingdemic' delays collections

Rubbish on Cephas Avenue, Tower Hamlets.

Rubbish on Cephas Avenue, Tower Hamlets. - Credit: Joe Burn

Rubbish has been left to pile up uncollected on the streets of Bethnal Green during the summer heatwave because of the so-called pingdemic.

So many rubbish collectors have been told to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app that it has caused delays to waste collections, Tower Hamlets Council said, with people reporting piles of bin bags and fly-tipping near Middleton Park. 

Residents of the area have reported that the rubbish is attracting rats and foxes.

This issue is impacting authorities all over the country as coronavirus cases soar and lockdown restrictions are eased.

A local woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the rubbish was attracting vermin and the mess had been impacted by the introduction of a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) next to the park. 

She said: “There are rats under those bins. I haven’t noticed a smell as such but I don’t get too close. The rats and foxes will tear the bags open and spread the rubbish all over the park. 

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“This road was recently made into an LTN. So is now very quiet at night which makes dumping and fly-tipping much easier."

Rubbish gets collected once a week, she claimed, with flats forced to leave excess bin bags outside.

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She called for Tower Hamlets Council to do more to clean up the streets.

“Some inspections would probably help, or some of the refuse collectors should be reporting these issues back,” she added.

A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson said: “We are experiencing some disruptions to our waste collections due to factors such as staff absences due to illness and/or the requirement to self-isolate.

“Agency staff are in place to provide the usual service.

“However, there may still be delays to normal collection days and times.

“We are working hard to resume normal services as soon as possible.”

This comes after families plagued by rats and wild foxes called for more recycling collections on Poplar’s Teviot housing estate.

Skips were overflowing with collections just once a week, which is not sufficient during the pandemic, according to the Teviot tenants' action group. 

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