This week, Basildon Council were unable to collect the pink recycling stacks. The council claimed this was due to ‘driver shortage’. What was causing the shortage remains a mystery – it was probably a combination of the ‘pingdemic’ and the fact that there may well be better paid driving jobs available.
A Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA) activist based up in Laindon only found out that the pink sacks weren’t getting collected when they were told so by the commercial waste collector servicing their workplace. Basildon Council use sacks for rubbish and recycling and they’re only meant to go out on the morning of the collection. If they don’t get collected and stay out overnight, the local foxes will come along looking for food, rip them apart and leave the contents strewn everywhere. As these are recycling stacks, they’ll also go away hungry!
The BASHA activist realising what could happen told the neighbours in his block. As there’s already a degree of self organisation in this block (they maintain a small community garden), as you can see from the above graphic, the residents got together to clear their section and the BASHA activist took the pink sacks away to the local waste disposal/recycling centre.
If you look at the graphic, you can compare and contrast this with those residents further down the road vainly hoping the council will eventually turn up to collect the pink sacks. What the BASHA activist is trying to do is lead by example and encourage other residents to follow suit and self organise rather than rely on the council.
When it comes to the services we rely on that our local authorities provide, it’s hard to escape the impression that things are starting to fall apart a bit. That’s no fault of the front line workers who work bloody hard to try and keep the show on the road. The blame lies with arrogant/incompetent management and a culture of councils not getting their priorities right.
As the situation inevitably continues to decline, residents self organising like this to fill the breach will become more important. If local councils screw up to the point where they simply don’t have the resources available to do the basics, residents will have to step up to the plate. What BASHA are trying their best to do is lead by example. What we and BASHA say is that the more we as residents have to take on for ourselves, the more we want in terms of having a real say in what goes on in our neighbourhoods. That seems like a fair exchange, doesn’t it?