‘Decontamination’ needed as waste strikes continue, says Public Health Scotland

Public Health Scotland has issued a warning to members of the Scottish public as waste continues to accumulate in homes and public spaces following a series of strikes from waste workers.

public overflowing waste

With strikes set to continue into September, the body has recommended a series of precautions for members of the public to take in light of the health risks posed by build up of decomposing organic waste.

These recommendations include:

  • Washing hands thoroughly when handling waste at home
  • Storing organic waste and medical waste in separate containers
  • Double-bagging waste likely to rot if containers are not available
  • Avoiding contact with refuse in public areas
  • Taking fire safety precautions in households as the accumulation of waste may increase fire risk

Alongside these measures, the body has shared recommendations with local authorities to help limit the impact of waste on public health, such as the decontamination of public areas where bins have overflowed.

Ongoing industrial action across Scotland

First served by Unison, Unite, and GMB, on 12 August, strike action among waste workers has taken place in eight scottish local authorities, including Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire on 26-29 August, with more action to come on 7-10 September.

The new dates joined ongoing strike action already being taken in Edinburgh, where crews began striking on 18 August, impacting the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the country’s biggest annual event. The industrial action is set to finish on 30 August.

The move came after no agreement was reached between the unions and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) during negotiations on pay, where an offer of a non-recurring five per cent payment to workers was rejected.