The Ealing Rubbish Fiasco has been going on for six months and we have still not seen a full resumption of the normal service. The council has been slow to divulge the data I am using here. The August data was sent to me on Friday. There have essentially been five waves of problems that residents have had to endure:
The initial, bags-in-the-street, in-your-face fiasco
In April the contractorâ€™s mobilisation plan failed. The rounds were not right. The vehicles purchased by Enterprise were either too big or werenâ€™t ready in time. Rubbish was left in the street. Cllrs Bell and Mahfouz frantically cycled around the Borough trying to keep up with the chaos. This phase passed off pretty quickly for most people. Two weeks of mess, bags piled up, streets not swept, no record kept of street cleaning. The council would like you to think that was the end of it.
The council fails to clean the streets
For three months the council badly failed to clean the streets. For three months a third or more of all of the entire Boroughâ€™s roads were unacceptably dirty. In month four a quarter of streets were unacceptably dirty after the council went back to the old system of allowing the contractor to clean up failed streets. After five months one street in eight is still unacceptably dirty and we still have twice as many dirty streets as last year.
The council sends pretty much all re-cycling to Kent
After a couple of weeks it was decided that kerbside re-cycling could not be continued. All the boroughâ€™s dry re-cycling was shoved in lorries and taken to Kent. This lasted for four months in which time 87% of all dry re-cycling was mixed up and effectively kerbside re-cycling stopped. The council never told the truth about this.
Double spike in missed collections
In the first month of the Ealing Rubbish Fiasco over 8,000 collections were missed. This was probably an under estimate as it would only take a couple of calls to tell the council that an entire road was uncollected. This seemed to get better in May and June and then spiked up again in July and August as the contractor took delivery of new recycling vehicles and re-jigged the collection rounds which their staff couldnâ€™t get right. There were almost as many missed collection in August as there were in April. Over 25,000 missed collections in five months, five times as many as the previous year.
Council still failing to clean up after itself
Residents will have noted that even in October the council is still failing to clear up after itself. The street cleaners leave their bags out for days on end and fly-tips are up 31% over five months. Combine the 50% cut in envirocrime officers checking up on how businesses handle their waste and the look of the borough has turned noticeably worse. Plastic bags in the street are a bigger feature of our life than they were six months ago.
The council has spent six months telling us that things werenâ€™t that bad. They were and we have a noticeably dirtier environment now and many residents have had their faith in the recycling system knocked.