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Health fears as rubbish piles high after 'weeks' of missed bin collections

Bags filled with rotting food and rubbish have been piled high along streets in one part of Birmingham, sparking health fears as people say they’ve not had their bins emptied for weeks.

In Washwood Heath, Ward End and Alum Rock on Tuesday, litter bins were full to overflowing, many with bin liners and household waste dumped around them.

Many people said they were concerned about the risk to health posed by infestations of flies and rats.

“I just think it’s really disgusting to be honest - it’s not nice to walk past,” one woman said.

Another added: “It’s disgusting. You can’t get to walk past it. Wasps, rats, flies, the whole lot. Really horrible.”

One mother-of-four said she refuses to bring her children to the section of Washwood Heath Road where she works.

“I don’t want to get my children ill,” she said.

Zaheer Akbar runs the Alum Rock Community Forum, and said they’re getting 20 to 30 messages a day from frustrated residents angry that even now the bin strikes are over, they’re still dealing with the fallout.

You can’t even open your windows - the smell is really bad. In some areas, areas where you go, the smell is so bad that you can’t even walk past or it would make you vomit.

Strike action is over, and it’s been over about four weeks, and the rubbish is still building up. You got lots of angry residents who are fed up of it.

– Zaheer Akbar, Alum Rock Community Forum

Some residents had even warned him they would start dumping their uncollected rubbish in the middle of roads in protest, he said.

Household waste and rotting food have been dumped. Credit: ITV News Central

Cllr Mohammed Aiklaq, the ward councillor for Ward End, said he believed the missed collections were to blame for what he said had been an increase in flytipping in the area.

“Some residents have been waiting five to six weeks to have their household waste collected,” he said.

“The recycling waste in some roads hasn’t been collected for up to six to seven weeks. And that obviously attracts flytipping.”

“The ones that are missed are missed on a regular basis as well, so it’s the same people who actually suffer.”

Infestations of flies and rats have prompted health fears. Credit: ITV News Central

In a statement, Birmingham City Council described flytipping as “unacceptable”, and said where there was evidence, they would prosecute anyone caught dumping rubbish.

As for missed collections, a spokesman apologised for any inconvenience caused to residents.

He added:

We collect from 360,000 households every week.

Unfortunately a wide range of issues such as vehicle breakdown and an inability to access streets because of unforeseen matters such as inconsiderate parking mean we sometimes miss some households.

The size, scale and complexity of our service must not be underestimated. We collect from all sorts of properties from Victorian terraces to modern housing estates and have a service that is twice the size of many other major cities.

– Birmingham City Council spokesman

He went on to say the authority worked to rectify any “root causes” of missed collections, and would pick up the uncollected waste as soon as they could.

But for the people dodging piles of waste every day, that can’t come soon enough.