Garbage collection affected by Covid: Stirling adviser says monthly increases worsen staff shortage problems
Concerns have been expressed that the suspension of bin collection due to Covid-related staff shortages has been exacerbated by Stirling’s shift to monthly increases last year.
A rural adviser says that, had the council not made the changes, the disruption caused by the coronavirus would have been lessened.
Martin Earl said, “You can’t cut basic serve to the bone and get away with it.”
There was an outcry when council decided in June to move the gray (landfill) and blue (recycling) bin collections every four weeks and thousands of people signed a petition against the changes.
This week, the Stirling council was forced to cancel bin collections in a number of locations due to staff absences due to workers testing positive for the virus or considered close contact, forcing them to s ‘isolate.
But residents denounced the state of the service, adding that they found themselves inundated with waste because collections were not sufficient before the cancellations.
On Wednesday, we explained how the additional collections of the blue bins between December 27 and January 2 were suspended. On Monday, the council said collections in Balquhidder, Brig O’Turk, Strathyre and Kilmahog were to be suspended and postponed until Tuesday. They added that the additional collection of blue bins in Dunblane had also been suspended, but a garbage vehicle was due to do a partial collection in the area on Monday.
A spokesperson for the Stirling Council said: âThe disruption of waste collection services is an unfortunate consequence of the increase in the number of Covid cases, forcing some of our key frontline service staff to self-isolate – a trend replicated in boards and other public services across the country.
âWhile most of our other services are unaffected, we urge all residents and staff to continue to adhere to current public health guidelines to minimize any further potential disruption.
âWe also thank the public for their understanding during this difficult time. “
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On Tuesday, rescheduled collections at Balquidder, Brig O’Turk, Strathyre and Kilmahog were further delayed due to a vehicle breakdown. Due to staff absences linked to Covid-19, the additional collection of blue bins planned for Causewayhead, Raploch and downtown Stirling has also been suspended.
Residents were told on the Stirling Council Facebook page that if they had accumulated additional waste in the blue bins, they could take it to the household waste and recycling centers in Lower Polmaise, Callander and Balfron.
Council briefed residents on social media on Wednesday, saying that, again due to staff absences, additional blue bin collections have been suspended in Cambusbarron, St Ninians, Torbrex, Aberfoyle and Port of Menteith.
And yesterday the council declared that “the additional collections of the blue bins planned for January 6 have been suspended”.
Trossachs and Teith Tory adviser Martin Earl said he had been inundated with messages from residents about the situation.
He said: âYou only have to look at people’s comments on social media to see how frustrated and angry they are with the way garbage collections have been handled over Christmas and New Years.
âI’m sure the service struggled with people absent due to Covid, but if collections hadn’t been reduced to monthly there would have been more capacity to deal with the disruption.
“You can’t cut basic serve to the bone and get away with it.”
When asked for a response to Cllr Earl’s comments, a council spokesperson said: âUnfortunately, we had to cancel some of the additional blue bin drives that had been held for the holiday season, due to downsizing due to Covid-19.
âAll the other scheduled household garbage collections are being collected and resources have been prioritized for them.
âWe apologize for any inconvenience this has caused the residents and thank them for their patience and understanding during this difficult time. “
Angry residents have shared their concerns on social media.
On the council’s Facebook page, user Thomas John commented: âOf course everyone wishes the Stirling council staff the best, but if the collections had stayed in two-week cycles, there wouldn’t be any. not had such an uproar.
âIt was a political decision of the board of directors. The 10-day isolation period, which Scotland is unique to the UK and now across much of Europe, is also having an impact on numbers. Another potentially political decision, this time from the Scottish government.
David Christie posted: âI took a lot of my excess cans, bottles and other recyclable waste to Polmaise today and put them all in the general waste dumpsters. This is what the monthly collections have brought us all.