I read with interest Starts at 60’s recent article about Melbourne councils proposing to change the rate of garbage collection for its residents from weekly to fortnightly. Should councils remove garbage from households at a rate slower than once a week? I hardly think so, the smells outside our kitchen door after about six days stagnation on a hot summer’s week can be enough to make you feel ill, so imagine what it would be like after a fortnight!
Add to that several other problems, like sheer quantity for instance, especially in a family with three or four kids and it wouldn’t take very long for the situation to get completely out of hand. We’d most likely finish up with the streets littered with the black plastic bags, full of festering rubbish, attracting rats, foxes, stray dogs, seagulls and tramps — an impossible situation!
There are numerous other ways delaying the collection of waste could have an affect too. For instance, the increased time between collections would mean that less collection vehicles would be required, so less drivers would be needed, resulting in several worthwhile employees suddenly finding themselves unemployed. This in turn could result in an irate union calling for reinstatement of the men which, if not complied with might mean a strike of all council employees. Then where would we be?
It’s all very well for councils to want to save money — in fact that is a major part of their reason for existence — though it is sometimes very hard to see what they are doing to accomplish this result! However, reducing waste collection wouldn’t appear to be a very sensible way to save money in my opinion, due in part to the suggestions I’ve made above. One obvious money-saver might be to use less ‘consultants’ to come up with ideas for council works, like designing a drainage system, or tidying up a village, etc. Consultants seem extravagant, when most councils surely have people permanently employed, who would be quite capable of completing such tasks. I wonder sometimes how many council officers gain some sort of advantage from dealing with such people…
I’m sure too, that some money could be saved, in the long run, if road repairs were completed in a more satisfactory manner. The work does sometimes seem to be done in a cheapskate way, resulting in a breakdown of the new surface a short time after installation, whereas a properly completed roadway, although expensive to make initially would last much longer. You only have to look at the surfaces of our freeways to see how much better an appropriately done job is — those surfaces seem to last for years, unless some serious external force is applied to them, such as a vehicle crashing!
Councils are our servants, not our master and as such (to get back to rubbish collection), they shouldn’t be looking for ways to reduce the services they provide for us, they should be looking for ways to provide the same services, but in a more efficient way. Perhaps the use of larger garbage trucks might be the answer, or better ways of disposing of the rubbish than just putting it on a tip. I know some councils have come up with some very imaginative ways of dealing with the problem, like making fertiliser or compost from the material rather than just filling holes with the stuff. I’m certainly no expert in these matters, but I just can’t help thinking there must be better ways of dealing with the problem and annoying your customers by giving them less for their money is not one of them!