Council COVID-19 waste helpline goes live
05 April 2020
A new bespoke 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 Monday 06 April 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 grass cuttings 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.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Michaela Boyle praised the Council’s response to dealing with the increased volume of calls and queries regarding waste disposal. She also encouraged the public to continue to maximise the use of their blue and brown bins and try not to put additional pressure on this essential Council service.
The Mayor expressed concern at the increased incidents of fly-tipping across the Council area urging people to consider the local environment and to take some pride in the area they live in.
She said: “Flytipping continues to be a big issue for Council and our enforcement teams are on the ground actively investigating all incidents across the city and region. The public are reminded that it is an offence to dump indiscriminately and they could face a Fixed Penalty Notice or a fine imposed by the court. Protecting our environment and keeping our streets, laneways and greenways clean are still a priority and everyone has their role to play,” she said.
The Mayor concluded by paying tribute to the Council front line staff in waste management services for their commitment and hard work during these difficult times. She thanked them for their service and urged the public to be respectful and co-operative.
“These are difficult times for everyone but please be courteous when dealing with our waste services staff as they continue to provide this important public service.”
Conor Canning added that a bespoke marketing campaign encouraging people to recycle, provide advice on double bagging and how to reduce waste would be rolled out over the Council area in the coming days.
“Work with this and help us do what we can to keep our city and district clean and safe over this difficult period, We are here to help and offer advice but we need you to help us by being responsible and doing what you can to prevent putting additional unnecessary pressure on our services,” he concluded.