Today's Weather for Cliftonville

Monday, 9 April 2007

Bank Holiday Paper Chase

You're entitled to ask what any sane-minded individual is doing even showing his head above the duvet at 8am on Easter Bank Holiday Monday. And it gets worse; I've actually just driven to work and back to collect some paperwork that needs doing during the week.

But that's not the issue. The issue is litter, road sweeping and rubbish collection, and how just a little bit of planning and co-ordination might work wonders in making the streets around Cliftonville look a little less like a land-fill site.

Today is Monday, and Monday is dustbin day. I've been caught out before on bank holidays; putting out the bin bags the night before and then leaving them there throughout the day in the vain hope that they will be collected. Alternatively, I've made the assumption that there's no way there will be a collection on bank holiday, I've not put them out, then at the crack of dawn cursed into my pillow in response to cheery bin-men-banter echoing up and down the road outside (prompted, no doubt, by the total absence of black bags awaiting their careful attention).

So, I was going to make no mistake today. Last night I logged on to the TDC's rubbish website (no offence intended, it's a very useful service) to check when my next collection was. There it was, in black and white: "Your next collection is tomorrow".

Out went my bulging black bags just before I went to bed. So far as I could see, I was one of only a handful who had remembered.

Now, you're probably already anticipating where this is going. And you'd be quite wrong.

Back to my early morning dash into work. As I unlocked my car I could already hear, though not yet see, the refuse lorry in the next street. Praise be! for a system that works, I thought. As I drove up Northdown Avenue I could see that the residents here had been really on the ball. Black sacks like sentries at every gate. Although the gulls were already up and at them even at this hour.

But what I saw next defied belief. Trundling up the road was a road sweeper with trolley and broom, stopping here and there to pick up cans and wrappers. And a very good job he was making of it. Real pride in his work. On Easter Monday to boot! Impressive!

But why, for Heaven's sake?

In half and hour's time, after the bin men had followed closely in his wake, this same road was going to be ankle deep in cans, wrappers, egg shells and putrefying vegetables! I almost stopped the car to vent my frustration, but the poor guy was at least working on a bank holiday, and I'm sure the issues of where and when he sweeps are not his decisions. Or are they? Who knows?

Sure enough, on my return home an hour later the pavements of this same street were absolutely awash with it, and the gulls were having a field day.

So, when is the next scheduled road-sweep? Who knows. Probably at the same time next week. About a half an hour before the bin men are due!

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