Riot clean-up helpers praised for fast response

Local authority crews, waste contractors and the general public have been praised by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) for their support in clean-up operations, following four nights of riots in London and across the country.

Clean-up campaigns have taken place across the capital, with hundreds of volunteers descending on Hackney, Clapham Junction and Ealing on Tuesday (9 August) to remove broken glass and debris caused by the rioters.

Other cities also started clean-up procedures after the worst riots since the 1980s broke out over the weekend.

As a result of the work, many areas of London have been restored to relative normality, with debris from broken shops, homes and cars removed and windows restored.

The CIWM said the immediate and effective response, which was largely organised through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube using the #riotcleanup tag was commendable.

CIWM chief executive, Steve Lee, said: “It is wonderful that so many people want to do something positive – and hats-off to the ‘riotcleanup’ tweeters for providing a focal point for those who care about their local communities and environment.

“It is equally pleasing that local authorities and their contractors have sprung into action yet again – and that their efforts have been recognised and praised by the public.”

On Twitter, online environmental resource for printers Greenprinter UK told edie that: “Hackney Council were brilliant. Mostly done by morning. They worked with us to finish off in Clarence Road once cars taken.”

However, Lee issued a word of caution to helpers saying that the clean-up operations must be properly co-ordinated and safety precautions taken, as the scale of destruction had caused “potentially dangerous wreckage, broken glass and metal items”, while some areas are still crime scenes.

He advised: “The best thing that volunteers can do is to contact their council and find out if, how, and where their help is needed.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who met with volunteers, shop owners and local residents in Clapham yesterday, also praised the work. However, he was met with an angry response from many individuals, who felt that they had been let down by police after many properties were damaged and people were forced to flee.

BBC reporter Richard Westcott said the clean-up marked a “sense of regaining power” for the general public, while one helper said the work was “strangely uplifting” after several nights of terror.

Carys Matthews

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