Some years ago, it seemed such a good idea that North Somerset Council gave us a number of yellow litter bins for free and offered to empty them on a regular basis. Finally, we thought, people would dispose of their litter responsibly rather than dropping it by the wayside. I personally chose the locations (with another councillor at the time) and installed them.
Little did we know that this project would fly back in our faces.
First, people started to abuse the bins. They were never intended for dog poo, just for ordinary litter, drinks cans, snack wrappers etc. Even today, I met a lady saying: "Doesn't that sign on the front say Dog Bin?" I had to point out to her that the sign does not depict a dog and that dog bins are usually green and have a proper lid.
Then, about 5 months ago, North Somerset Council stopped emptying them and told us if we wanted to use them, they were our responsibility. Our parish clerk has unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a solution ever since.
In the meantime, I received mounting complaints and although they were not directed at me personally, I felt guilty for the mess as I was involved in the original installation.
Amanda has taken the awful task upon herself to empty the bins this morning. Thank you so much, but I do not think you - or anyone of us - should have been expected to handle this serious health hazard (I was not prepared to!). This should have been done by professionals. We have all been let down.
After I heard from Amanda, rather than waiting for the bins to fill up again, I decided to go round and remove them all this afternoon. On my way down to Grove Farm - where the fourth bin was installed - I even did my private little litter pick down Dundry Lane.
I washed the bins out and have them in storage now. But I do not intend to do anything more with them. If someone else wants to have a go at the project, please feel free to collect them.
Sadly, this means that more litter will end up by the roadside again and there will be more work for our "Litter Busters". But until we have a firm commitment from a waste collector and unless we are able to educate the public on how to use the bins, this is perhaps the lesser problem.