We hear rats in the street... south Belfast residents say their area is swamped with rubbish
Residents in south Belfast say ongoing issues with rubbish and rats on their streets are forcing people out of the area.
Those living on Tates Avenue, off the Lisburn Road, say rubbish including used nappies, food waste and other items are littering alleyways and the front of their houses on a daily basis.
According to residents, collectors are no longer lifting recycle bins from the front of their homes and instead they have been asked to use new communal bins in the rear alleyways.
But since the collecting of bins was moved to the rear of the houses, locals say the rubbish problem has got out of control.
One resident, whose home is close to the Tates Avenue bridge underpass, told the Belfast Telegraph: "Hardly anyone uses the recycling bins and they don't appear to be emptied.
"Instead, rubbish continues to be dumped at the front of the houses and it's not being removed.
"I have reported incidents of this disgusting mess to the council, but nothing seems to get done."
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She added: "Residents have been left to clean some of this mess themselves but this cannot continue.
"It's madness and the problem has got so bad that it's now attracting rats to a street where young children are living and putting them at risk."
The resident said the problem has prompted one of her neighbours to move out, "having had enough".
"The lady was forced to leave and she was one of our best neighbours. She cleaned up the street and alleyway and will be sadly missed by everyone.
"When good caring neighbours leave, the entire neighbourhood suffers."
James Fee from Windsor Community Association visited the area in recent days and saw a dead rat in the alleyway.
"Food remains, nappies and other household waste are being thrown into alleyways throughout the neighbourhood, making them a virtual no-go area for some residents, especially those with children," he said. "I cover 6,000 homes and residents throughout the neighbourhood have continually complained about rats.
"They hear these rats moving about and are now wary of opening their back doors, especially at night.
"Many residents now feel that south Belfast has become a dumping ground and that the health and safety of their children is being ignored."
Alliance south Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw said she was aware of the issue: "I have seen a sharp rise in the number of residents notifying me about dumping, excessive litter, discarded needles and rodent infestations since the summer.
"While Belfast City Council is always quick to clear rubbish away, an actual plan is needed to ensure local residents do not have to live in areas with such high levels of environmental and health and safety concerns."
A Belfast City Council spokesperson said yesterday: "There are a small number of properties on Tates Avenue which, due to their proximity to the bridge and location on the road, present challenges in terms of waste collections. To assist recycling collections, a communal, weekly recycling and food waste collection scheme was introduced and this is serviced from the back of the affected properties.
"We would encourage residents to report any issues around the dumping of waste in public areas such as this directly to our cleansing team on 028 9027 0230 or via our website.
"Our street cleansing team has been made aware of this correspondence and have been deployed in the area today and where we have evidence of the person/s causing this we will take enforcement action. Our cleansing staff will also be liaising with pest control and environmental health staff to look at other solutions to this problem."