Uncollected clinical waste in Calderdale ‘causing health and safety issues’
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected waste services of all kinds, but health and safety issues arise if clinical waste is not collected, says a councillor. In the case of some areas, including flats and particularly at Todmorden, non-collection was causing health and safety issues, said Councillor Ashley Evans (Lib Dem, Warley).
There had been problems with waste collection and some of these had been created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Councillor Evans told members of July’s meeting of the full Calderdale Council.
But he needed to refer to issues relating to clinical waste collection as there were significant health and safety issues associated with this project – it included needles, sharps, and things like that.
It was a particular problem in blocks of flats where the smell could also become the main issue.
“On behalf of residents I have been in contact with, can I request that a special effort is made to deal with this issue, as I have had many questions from residents, especially in the Todmorden area, where there is a major problem.
“Can we communicate with users of this service so they know what is going on and maybe link in with some housing providers to possibly set up some collection centres.
“We need to do something because it is a major health issue collecting this sort of clinical waste,” said Councillor Evans.
Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Councillor Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said it was the first time it had been brought to her attention and she would certainly look into it.
“I can understand how difficult it must be if collections are not happening as residents expect them to happen.
Regrettably, this is a not uncommon problem at all times, irrespective of that now convenient excuse of the pandemic. But, whether or not, take a close look at the photograph that accompanied this new report. Yellow sacks. Two yellow sacks, clearly marked For Incineration Only. Improbable that these contain any clinical wastes and looking closely at the contents, as far as can be seen, there is nothing obvious to suggest the presence of any clinical wastes. The giveaway is the discarded woven raffia(?) basket that is certainly not a clinical waste item.
This scenario presents a not inconsiderable problem for the collections staff. They cannot and must not open the bags to inspect their content which should only be done with full PPE in a controlled environment, not in the narrow pathway between and behind terraced houses.
That does create a particular problem for the counsellors who are quite happy to jump to conclusions irrespective of the facts, or perhaps the lack of them.
I’ve seen this so many times before. The almost invariable explanation is that a householder has pilfered these yellow sacks from the hospital, clinic, nursing home, or GP surgery and used them for household waste. Leaving aside, but only temporarily the issue of theft from NHS, this is a real nuisance, a burden to local authorities and if anyone bothers to trace those responsible actually one that is suitable for prosecution. Especially when the wheelie bin is there available for use. That must surely be better for the councillor letting off steam almost certainly without good cause, to create newspaper headlines!