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People urged to put off doing a 'major Spring clean' as Derry's council launch a new emergency waste helpline

Concerns that fly-tipping could increase during the current difficult circumstances

Concern that closure of council recycling centres in Derry will lead to an increase in illegal dumping

Rubbish which was left outside one of the recycling centres in Derry last week.

A new COVID-19 Waste Support Service and Helpline set up by Derry City and Strabane District Council will go live this morning at 9am.

The helpline will assist in providing advice and assistance to the public with excess waste as a result from staying at home during the current pandemic.

The new helpline number – 028 71 376590 – is operational from today and will deal solely with the increasing requests from the public regarding excess refuse.

It will be manned by a dedicated team of Council staff, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, who will process and categorise all calls.

The calls will then be fed into a central system that in turn will co-ordinate each request for collection by district ward, with each area being served on specific allocated days of the week.

Members of the public using the helpline are advised that the new waste service is for excess residual (black bin), recycling (blue bin) and garden waste ONLY, with no provision being made for bulky waste collections, which unfortunately cannot be collected during this emergency situation.

Collections will be carried out by area and on specific days of the week and only directly from domestic premises that have made pre-arranged collections with the Council’s waste team, with no kerbside waste being permitted.

The public are advised that this this service is an emergency response to assist in resolving the increased pressure on waste services and they are strongly advised they must continue to fully utilise the existing refuse collection services that continue to operate as normal.

Conor Canning, Head of Environment with Derry City and Strabane District Council, appealed for the public’s co-operation and understanding at this time saying it will take the service a couple of days to get up and running and fully operational.

He said: ““We have been getting an increased number of calls from the public who have additional waste and following the Government directive to close our household recycling centres, have nowhere to take additional waste. We appreciate that many are spending more time at home and accumulating more waste however, we would encourage people to do all they can to reduce waste by reducing, recycling and reusing where possible.

“Our refuse collection services are operating as normal and we feel that most people have adequate provision through this service. For those with larger families, or specific medical needs, we understand this is a difficult time and are keen to help. We hope that this new helpline will assist us in doing that and reach out to the people in our communities who need additional help and support.”

He added: ““It is important that people note that we are dealing with a pandemic emergency situation therefore this is not the time to do a major spring clean and expect the Council to come pick up large pieces of furniture, mattresses or white goods. We do not have the capacity to do this during this time and would encourage the public to refrain from this type of work or to store it within their garages or sheds until our bulky waste service is operational again.”

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