What were the weirdest street cleansing finds last year?
From 200 dead chickens and a rotting iguana, to blow up dolls and large fluffy toys – these are just some of the bizarre things North East Lincolnshire Council’s street cleansing team cleared from the streets in 2018.
The small team works 362 days a year in all weathers to keep the borough clean and green.
Whenever there’s a big event in the borough – such as Armed Forces Day or the Ørsted Great Grimsby 10K – they’re there before, during and after to keep the streets clean and keep the area looking its best.
They find some shocking things while carrying out tasks such as emptying litter bins, sweeping roads, cleaning up dog mess and clearing fly-tips – and sometimes the mess (and smells) they have to clear away are stomach-churning.
Here’s the top 10 list of some of the weirdest things the team cleaned up in 2018:
- A metre-long dead iguana
- Hissing Sid – a seven-foot long cuddly toy snake fished from the River Freshney
- 200 dead baby chickens
- An old caravan full of cardboard and asbestos
- A decomposing cat in the River Freshney
- A blow-up doll
- 95 dead pheasants
- A complete kitchen
- Barrels of oil and vape chemicals
- Mountains of tyres
While fishing out rubbish from the River Freshney and litter picking on the banks, the team have also found no end of shopping trolleys, bikes, toys and dead pets.
They also have the unpleasant job of taking away dead animals from the roadsides.
Cleaning up after road traffic collisions is probably one of the worst aspects of their job and can often be distressing for the team.
Councillor Matthew Patrick, portfolio holder for environment, said: “The top ten is just a snapshot of the revolting mess our street cleansing team is faced with on a daily basis.
“The mess they have to clear away at times is shocking. You would not believe some of the filthy, disgusting mess they are faced with.
“A lot of it is fly-tipped by criminal gangs and rogue traders with no respect for the law or the environment.
“It could be avoided if people disposed of their waste correctly.
“We ask the community to help by taking care of the places that are important to them so everyone can benefit from a clean, well-cared-for environment.”
Councillor Steve Beasant, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, added: “Our street cleansing team care passionately about looking after the local environment, but what they have to deal with at times is absolutely gross.
“They sweep 2,400 streets each year and carry out daily beach cleans 26 weeks of the year.
“In December alone, they collected 395,820kg of litter from the streets and bring to sites, which saw excessive fly-tipping.
“We’re working with community groups to nurture civic pride and are cracking down on environmental crimes by introducing £100 fines for litter and dog fouling.”
As well as some unsightly finds, the team empties hundreds of litter bins across the borough. Bins in high footfall areas of Grimsby and Cleethorpes are emptied up to three times a day, with litter bins elsewhere being emptied up to twice a week.
Emergency work is also carried out when there is extreme weather, spillages and emergency service requests such as fly-tipping that could cause a threat of arson.