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Fortnightly refuse collections may cause health risk

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Author Topic: Fortnightly refuse collections may cause health risk  (Read 560 times)
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« on: August 19, 2007, 05:37:51 am »

This is not necessarily a funeral or embalming issue but it is quite interesting.

'Councils are being bullied by the Government into axing weekly rubbish collections, despite this clearly being against the public's wishes. People don't want bags of rubbish hanging around for days on end, bringing bad smells and attracting vermin' -- Eric Pickles, Tory Environment spokesman

Unfortunately too many councils are abusing the public trust, using recycling as an excuse to cut public service costs, whilst at the same time pushing local taxes up year-on-year at rates at least double that of the prevailing rate of inflation. There are seven major points to be carefully considered

(1) The new report, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found rubbish left out for longer periods produced tens of thousands more spores. Dr Tom Kosatsky, a medical epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal , said: "If rubbish is decaying for two weeks and is heated by warm weather, it provides a fertile breeding ground for spores. Exposure to fungi on this level can trigger sore throats, respiratory symptoms, faintness, weakness and depression, asthma and other allergic reactions."

(2) In the 13-week study academics at the University of Northampton swabbed wheelie bins that had held waste for two weeks. Results showed a raft of potentially deadly bacteria, including crippling stomach bugs like salmonella, e.coli, legionella and listeria. Rotting food also proved a fertile breeding ground for flies.
Recent investigations have shown the presence in dustbins of Yersinia pestis also called Pasteurella pestis, a bacterium that causes the black plague and is generally transmitted from rats to humans by the rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis.

(3) An increase in disease spread by the fly population. To look at one simple fact, the rate of breeding. If all the eggs laid by a housefly were to mature, then one fly could have 320,000 grandchildren. Fortunately only a small proportion of eggs survive, but enough do to become an intolerable nuisance - and a serious threat to health.

The common housefly, more than any other flying insect is such a menace because it is a dirty feeder. The housefly has an extraordinary and unique habit: it alternates between filth and clean food, generally human food. Every meal consists of two courses: one course is any kind of garbage, often sewage: for the second course the favourite dishes are milk, sugar or anything sweet or fatty. Among the pathogens commonly transmitted by house flies are Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia, Enterococcus, Chlamydia, and many other species that cause illness. These flies are most commonly linked to outbreaks of diarrhoea and shigellosis, but also are implicated in transmission of food poisoning, typhoid fever, dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, ophthalmia, and parasitic worms

(4) An unacceptable result is an increase in the rat population. Based on returns from over 300 local councils, there has been a 69% increase in vermin infestation. The National Pest Technicians Association puts the problem down to fortnightly refuse collection and associated problems of overflowing bins, fly-tipping, rubbish left at the side of bins and the growing problem of junk food dropped in the street.

(5) During the hot summer the increase in bad smells from rubbish decaying in bins The advice from a government quango to councils is to introduce fortnightly waste collection in the winter so as to minimise the smell and lessen public opposition.
This advice flies in the face of advice from the WHO which recommends in temperate climates like the UK waste should be collected at least once a week.

(6) HANDLING rubbish that has been left out for a fortnight before being collected can increase the risk of health problems including asthma and nausea, a study has found. Researchers found that the level of bacteria and fungal spores in the air above bins that had not been emptied for two weeks was more than 10 times that in locations where there was a weekly collection. Exposure to these conditions could put the health of operatives at risk

(7) Another result of the fortnightly collection is a dramatic increase in fly-tipping. Obviously someone has to cover the cost of fly-tipping collection. Lord Rooker, the environment minister, said "Councils that introduce fortnightly rubbish collection will have to have a programme to tackle fly-tipping," He was concerned that there had been an increase in fly-tipping where collections were fortnightly.

A full microbiological risk assessment is necessary to ensure public safety before contemplating any change to the refuse collection system
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