Call for Govanhill waste problem to be tackled, after ‘human excrement’ found

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A Govanhill councillor wants ongoing waste problems to be addressed after “human excrement” was found during a one-week clean-up.

Community organisations came together between Monday, February 28 and Friday, March 4 to tackle crime, fly-tipping, graffiti and waste in Govanhill.

The week of action saw over 50 fixed penalty notices handed out, but Bailie Soryia Siddique, who represents the Southside Central ward, said the problems cannot be solved by a “one-off exercise”.

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She sent a letter to Dr Linda de Caestecker, the public health director at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, asking her to step in due to the “ongoing problem of waste” in Govanhill. An NHS spokesman said Dr de Caestecker has now retired, with Dr Emilia Crighton appointed interim director, but a response would be provided to Bailie Siddique.

At a full council meeting last week, Bailie Siddique asked Cllr Anna Richardson, the city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, to support her call to the director of public health for “key people to come together and try again to deal with the situation”.

Glasgow City Council made £275,000 from the properties.Glasgow City Council made £275,000 from the properties.
Glasgow City Council made £275,000 from the properties. | JC

She said the “extremity” of the waste problem in Govanhill had been “proved by the recent week of action which also brought to light the presence of human excrement”.

Cllr Richardson said the week of action was part of “ongoing and comprehensive” work in Govanhill and had received “positive feedback” from the community.

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During the week, 34 fixed penalty notices were issued to businesses that did not have appropriate waste disposal measures in place as commercial enforcement officers made 132 visits to Govanhill premises.

Public health officers searched 30 fly-tipped waste household bags and identified three people responsible, issuing fines, and more than 50 tonnes of fly-tipped wastes were removed from the neighbourhood.

There were 38 community litter picks, with local schools involved, and a graffiti removal team cleared 530 metres of graffiti. Two fines were issued over dog fouling and 17 for littering. Teams also cleared 73 gullies and seven community clean-ups, clearing seven back lanes.

Bailie Siddique’s letter, sent last month, stated she had been contacted by constituents over a prolonged period of time. “Concerns have been raised with regards to dumping of waste, overflowing bins, infestation and human waste in back courts.

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“I am seeking your support in asking all the local public bodies and the Scottish Government to accept that they have a joint responsibility to address this problem.”

The Labour councillor added: “Overflowing bins and dumped items can cause serious impacts on the health of individuals, particularly children and vulnerable adults.

“It also causes problems for the surrounding environment, which in turn impacts adversely on the mental health of local residents. As you will appreciate, unattended waste lying around attracts vermin. This increases the risk of the spread of disease especially during the current time.”

In response to Bailie Siddique’s comments, Cllr Richardson said: “The public health professionals we have in the council are very much embedded in working on the ground in Govanhill and I know there is a great deal of proactive activity happening there.

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“I think the way we have worked so far, with having that partnership approach, is a really positive one. If there are partners that it would be beneficial to add to that work, I think that’s certainly something that should be discussed.”

The week of action had been organised following a request from Crosshill and Govanhill Community Council, she said. “This included activities from partner agencies, including not only the community council and ourselves but Govanhill Housing Association, Thriving Places, local schools and Police Scotland.

“Whilst this focused activity encompassed a range of services working in the area during the week of action, this also provided a platform to increase community involvement and it acts as a catalyst to allow further sustainable activity within the area.”

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