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Did you see the BBC news coverage earlier this week with pictures of refuse collectors urinating on wheelie bins in a Wakefield alleyway? The photographer, reporters and all the people I've spoken to about it, were aghast at the discovery that these workers - employed to help keep our neighbourhoods clean - have been dirtying it by answering the call of nature.
My first thought was that the workers are urinating against the bins as a result of a combination of what appear to be very tight schedules and the ongoing closure over many years, of our public toilets. This means that there is nowhere for them to go even if they had the time to stop and use a toilet without throwing their schedules into disarray... Any refuse collectors I see, are working far, far quicker than they used to years ago when wheelie bins first came into use and refuse collection was seen as quite a 'cushy' job apart from the early starts. My next thought was that perhaps they're not running to complete their rounds because of the tight schedules but rather because one or more of the team is desperate to get back to the depot to use the toilet as there are none open anywhere near their rounds anymore!
Either way, I daresay that this practice is going on all over the country and nothing is going to prevent it.
Steve Bowman, who installed cameras outside his home in a bid to catch fly-tippers and who captured the men in action (but no fly-tippers as far as I'm aware) said he was disgusted. Wakefield Council said it was investigating and would "take appropriate action".
While Mr Bowman is seeking an apology from the council and a guarantee that it won't happen again (and I agree with his point that householders have to handle these bins too & that it's unhygienic if they're covered in urine) I can't imagine that the council can really do much other than ask the workers to use the fence instead, because it's a human right to be able to go to the toilet when the need takes us - within reason obviously!
Just what is the answer to this dilemma, I wonder?
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14th March 2019