There is hardly a time when the roads at Kings Cross are free of rubbish, especially plastic bags of any size with waste can be found in many locations, many corners have dropped unwanted furniture, and some communal recycling bins are overflowing, due to waste not being collected often enough or there not being enough containers. When we last wrote about rubbish one year ago on 21st of April 2013: Full of Rubbish and Poo: Camden’s Management of Kings Cross Streets some people commented that this is not just an issue in Kings Cross, but likewise in Kentish Town, Camden Town and West Hampstead, so there seems to be a general problem. One year on, there is hardly a noticeable difference.
That this is an issue Camden must tackle is clear when you consider that there are ever more people living in Kings Cross and Camden, beside those who work here or travel through the area. If the poor waste policy is not modified and its control intensified, we soon will live in streets of waste and still pay money to Camden for what is an outdated service, that lacks a permanent investment and vision and just does the bare minimum of what is necessary, namely collect the waste at regular intervals.
Streets without constant filth and rubbish will allow people to feel more at home and take more ownership and responsibility of a clean nice street scape.
Here is a wish list of points that the council ought to strongly consider. They are hardly rocket science, but common sense:
- Add communal recycling containers where community highlighted that there are too few (e.g. Swinton Place)
- Consider reintroducing permanent waste bins, where rubbish bags on the pavement are a persistent problem. Where not possible, be very clear where the waste can be left and how.
- Properly enforce regulations on offending behaviour regarding waste, by strengthening the manpower of those responsible to check it (or else we will do a Freedom of Information request on the issue that may reveal Camden hardly enforces anything on this). The bottom line is, our roads must look better than roads of rubbish.
- Massively increase the amount of on the road road bins, where people on the move can drop their waste, ideally bins that have a triple division (glass and metal / paper / all other waste). There should be a bin every 250 meters on both sides of any pedestrian path. Empty these as often as is necessary to stop them being full to the brink.
- Increase dog-poo bins, so that there is one in at least each road or every 500 meters or so.
- Regulate and control areas where people can leave bigger unwanted items and how these are collected. Go in line with the reality that most people do not call the collection team and think how you could regulate this better and more community appropriate. There are unofficial corners at the moment, with mobile collection vans that check the roads regularly.
- Ensure that waste of businesses is dropped at the least conspicuous locations on a road and encourage the construction of fences / sheds that hide waste.
- Inform residents all the time on how household rubbish and waste and recycling items are collected. Consider putting up permanent signs on each road. Due to the high amount of temporary residents one off explanation of the waste policy and regulation loose significance even after but one year. Explain the policies at least once a year to all households and to any person registering newly for council tax, with relevance to their specific address.
- Encourage all mobile Camden officers, including street wardens to report filthy areas and high amount of rubbish on the pavement and have a team that can speedily act on such reports.
- Planted trees should not be used as areas next to which it is acceptable to load of rubbish bags. This also counts for the Camden rubbish collection team.
- Encourage local community to get that broom out and swipe the area in front of their entrance, and to bin items, even if they were not dropped by them themselves.
- This is more a street environment issue, but will help making roads look more appealing. Consider more flower planting such as adjacent to trees. Encourage and allow the community to engage in planting alongside the pavements.