Friday, 23 May 2008

Birmingham going green with plastic bags!

Not sure if anyone else in Birmingham has had the same problems but we have been dutifully in our street putting out our green bags and it has been 4 weeks and they are still waiting to be collected.
I called up the Recycling hotline run by the council and was told that the council are behind in their collections. This is the same council encouraging us to "go green". If you come down my street in Yardley this seems to be by not collecting all the green refuse bags as the street is littered by them!! Its very de-motivating to turn into my street and to be confronted daily by all these bags. I know they don't have any hygiene issues, but maybe rats and mice might find them nice places to nest in and so I don't envy the bin men that have to collect them.
It is very commendable that the council is running this campaign and running a week long Climate Change festival, promoted as the first in the country. However actions speak louder than words and if they cannot cope with the current recycling collections then how are they planning to increase our recycling rates.
Birmingham Council is performing badly in the UK with the bottom 20 councils in the UK in the recycling league tables, how do they propose to improve the recycling rates when they cant manage the collections they already have!


Monday, 19 May 2008

Food waste dilemma

In a week where there has been a lot of media coverage about food wastage in Britain, here's a puzzle I'm often faced with while going about my shopping : my local co-op regularly puts out 'reduced' items, which are past their sell-by date. I've asked the staff, who tell me that what isn't sold ends up in the skip - so I've been in the habit of buying such items which I can use, rather than let them go to waste. But I wonder : in helping to reduce their waste, might the store merely be encouraged to continue over-ordering?

Aldo Mussi

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Tropical Birmingham...

I spent Saturday night in the Accident and Emergency Department at Selly Oak Hospital, accompanying a friend who had been bitten in many places by mosquitoes in her back garden in Harborne. Her leg had become infected, was swollen and incredibly painful... quite impressive for someone already on opiate painkillers! What was significant was the stark comparison of my times sitting in A+E Departments in African countries just two years ago. 3 hours in an overheated A+E full of people wearing flip flops, shorts and skirts with insects flying all over the place and a patient needing treatment as a result of a tropical insect felt remarkably like the times I spent with malaria patients (of which I was one) in Africa.

I can't help thinking that the apparent rise in mosquitoes in the UK has got something to do with climate change. While we have some wonderful weather at the moment (no complaints from me), there is certainly a downside.