Garbage piles in Scotland raise health concerns amid strikes
LONDON (AP) — Litter piles on Edinburgh’s streets are threatening public health and safety, health authorities warned Saturday as a strike by garbage collectors in the Scottish capital entered its ninth day.
The warning from Public Health Scotland comes as rubbish collectors in Newham, London, also went on strike for a week over a wage dispute.
With food and energy costs soaring and industrial disputes multiplying, images of food waste and rotting diapers on the streets have only added to the chaos in the UK.Bathers in the UK were warned last week Stay away from dozens of beaches as heavy rain washes raw sewage into rivers and oceans.
Public Health Scotland told local authorities that “common areas where bins have overflowed may need to be decontaminated.” It warned that “organic waste can pose a threat to human health if it builds up.”
Garbage collectors went out on Aug. 18 and are scheduled to stop work by Aug. 30. If the wage dispute is not resolved, there will be more strikes.
The UK is facing a huge cost of living crisis, wage growth has failed to keep pace with inflation, which was 10.1% last week. These financial challenges will only increase as energy costs soar – authorities say UK residents will see their annual energy bills rise by 80% in October.
The country has seen wave after wave of strikes this summer, and the public transport system has come to a near standstill Due to a railway strike for a few days. Primary schools and nurseries in Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, will be forced to close for a few days next month if the strike by council workers goes ahead.
In London, garbage drivers at Newham City Council started a week-long strike on Saturday, with union officials warning there could be more to come. United union secretary Sharon Graham said the workers were paid less than others in neighbouring councils.
“The council must now focus on reaching a deal with workers facing the financial crisis,” Graham said. “If they don’t, the next few days will undoubtedly mean more industrial action.”
Britain’s image took a hit this summer.French lawmakers in the European Parliament complained this week that untreated sewage washed into rivers and oceans by Britain also threatens bathing watersEU fisheries and biodiversity.
Parts of Britain’s sewage systems are overwhelmed after days of uncharacteristically heavy rain.
Follow all AP stories about the environment at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment.