Housing Executive 'forgot' about overflowing bin for three years
The Housing Executive has admitted that it "forgot" about an overflowing bin for almost three years.
The bin, on a green space in Tigers Bay, was removed by workmen yesterday.
Belfast City Council now plans to install a new bin in the area to replace the one that has been removed.
Local resident Stephen Lundy alerted the Belfast Telegraph to the problem bin, which until yesterday morning was overflowing with dog dirt and beer cans.
It had not been emptied for an estimated two-and-a-half years, and even had grass growing out of the top.
Mr Lundy said the bin, at the corner of Canning Street and Clanmorris Street in north Belfast, was a disgrace and potential health hazard. This view was unanimous among residents who the Belfast Telegraph spoke to on Monday.
Pensioner Mary McIntyre (64) said the bin had been in a poor state for as long as she could remember and she had complained about the smell.
"I would worry that it is becoming a health hazard," she added.
"There are a lot of bees and other insects buzzing around it. There are alcohol tins and even cement in it. Kids play in the area, so this is not a pleasant thing to have around."
Gordon Clarke (64) added that he found it unbelievable that people regularly cut the grass around the bin while leaving the bin itself overflowing.
Mr Lundy had been trying unsuccessfully to get the bin emptied, but had been passed between Belfast City Council and Government agencies in confusion over who actually owned it.
In frustration he turned to the Belfast Telegraph to get the problem fixed.
After inquiries from this newspaper, the Housing Executive stepped forward on Monday to take responsibility and yesterday morning emptied the bin, and then later removed it because of the state it was in.
A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive apologised to residents over the matter.
"We can confirm that the bin did belong to us, and was placed there when the green area was developed approximately six years ago," she said.
"There was some confusion as to who was responsible for removing the waste, and the Housing Executive would like to apologise for the fact that the bin has not been emptied.
"Our grounds staff went to empty the bin this morning, but upon doing so it was discovered to be in very bad repair, and a decision was made to remove the bin," she said.
"We will now ensure there is adequate bin provision in the area."
Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Guy Spence - a councillor for the area - said he understands the council will install another waste bin.
It cannot be placed where the previous bin was as that land belongs to the Housing Executive.