Human poo now an issue in Doncaster parks
Human poo has now become an issue in Doncaster's parks, as well as that produced by dogs.
Complaints have long been made about dogs fouling the borough's green spaces, But the latest Doncaster Free Press round table, on litter and flytipping, has revealed that human faeces has now had to be cleaned up.
Free Press community engagement editor David Kessen chaired. Our panel was Robert Scarborough, Doncaster Council environmental crimes officer; Andy Rutherford, council head of street scene and highways operations; Nigel Cannings, litter pick organiser in Tickhill; John Brooks, council enforcement officer, Bex Shaw; Doncaster Green Team; Jackie Dusi. Arksey Ladies Community Group; Clarissa Jackson, Warmsworth Environmental Group; Gaynor Spencer, Keeping Rossington Tidy.
What should the authorities to to assist communities dealing with litter?
BS: I’ve found the council have been brilliant, and the stronger communities team. They provided me with all the equipment, and I just had to ring them to come and collect the bags.
CJ: We’ve had every support we can from the council, but because there have been so many cuts they’ve got far less staff so I think Doncaster Council now is relying more and more on volunteers. It is a tricky on because a lot of people don’t have kerb appeal any more, that’s pride in their own houses. No one scrubs their step any more or, cleans up outside their house. They ring me up and say can you get this moved. I do think the council do work fabulously with volunteers, but the staff has been cut that much that we’re all struggling.
BS: I gather the litter picking staff is now just 11 for the whole borough.
AR: That’s right.
BS: When you think about the size of the borough it’s a never ending task.
CJ: I think there are people who are not part of litter picking groups who do litter pick. I often say thank you to the litter fairies because there are a lot of people who do it but don’t want to be part of a group.
GS: I recently heard about someone who did a clear up round the duckpond, and was picking up all the poo bags.. He didn't want to be known, but well done. There a couple of ladies who volunteer with my who just go out and pick up litter in their own time.There a lot of people out there who do it.
CJ: In Warmsworth, as a parish council we’ve recently employed a handyman 20 hours a week. He gardens and he litter picks. We do pay him but he does things in his own time with the environmental group as well which is fabulous. It is going more and more towards volunteering because the money is just not there.
AR: There is an opportunity, and I welcome what the parish council has done. We recently reviewed the parish charter and within the charter, there is flexibility now in terms of local organisations doing something themselves, as long as its above the council’s core offer, so its not charging twice.We’d be more than happy to support that and work alongside any ideas or projects.
Is dog fouling something that we see as a big issue?
GS: That’s another thing where I think we need different bins. I’ve been in Holmescarr Park, and a gentleman came up and fetched it off the street and put it in the regular bin. He’s done that, which is good of him, but we have’t got enough bins.
There’s lots being dumped and not being put in bins.
JD: If you say anything to anyone, there was a chap who said what has it got to do you with you. But’s it’s an offence. He said what are you going to do about it.
CJ: I believe the enforcement officer has swapped for dog fouling. I used to speak to the safer neighbourhood team but now its gone to enforcement. So I think there is a lack of stencils on the floor around the borough, which I think is a deterrent, and I agree there is a lack of bins but I understand bins are for both now. But when dog poo bins are moved and a new one is not put up a normal bin is not put up, where does that poo go. I also think, and this is litter, I’m very much afraid we have a problem with human poo.
CJ: I know it sounds a personal think to say, but we have a problem with lorry drivers and homeless people fouling in the street.
JD: We think its travellers near us.
CJ: I don’t want to say where, but we have someone who is homeless. When you’re litter picking and you stand in someone’s human faeces it’s not very nice. Neither is picking up bottles of wee.
Is there anything that can be done about that?
RS: On dog fouling f you let us know where the accumulations of dog fouling are taking place, if we have specific areas where we know we are getting an issue on a regular basis and its starting to accumulate, then we can get staff and enforcement officers to look at that specific area on a regular basis. We can signpost them round those areas. The human faeces thing is a difficult one. If you come across it it needs to be cleansed. Lorry drivers, over the past few years as Doncaster has become more of a hub for the logistics, we have noticed here have been more lorries around.
AR: Again, we have a review at where there are hot spots, and it could be a case of education of drivers and what is allowed and what is not allowed. We’ve put bigger bins in some laybys which has worked well for. High Common Lane was a bad area and has calmed down a lot, and the layby near Parrots Corner. We’ve worked with a company called Tikspac who do dog bag dispensers and we’ve managed to secure over 40 free of charge. We’re the first local authority in the north to take part in that. It’s been a long drawn out process but we’ve now got the logos and the planning done, and there going to go in specific sites. They’re mainly parks and country parks, along the lines of here’s a free bag, use it and dispose of it in the dual use bins.
BS: One of my friends had a problem where someone had been sleeping rough but they’d been injecting and because it was on what was deemed private land the council wouldn’t come and clear the needles.
RS: The council would be asking that land owner to secure the site. If we get a report of accumulations of waste on land we would contact the land owner and ask them to deal with it.
BS: “We just wanted if clearing as soon as possible because we don’t want kids to get hurt.”