EVERY day another bin rummager comes along and another passer by watches on curious, half wishing they hadn’t see a glimpse into this underworld.
For two months now I have watched on as countless individuals trawl through the city’s rubbish bins looking for anything they can get their hands on – scraps of food, old clothes, or other assorted objects such as wood and furniture.
Other people’s reaction to this behaviour is almost as fascinating. Nearly everyone who claps eyes on the bin rummagers can’t help but take a second look. And a third. And a fourth. One woman who was loading a vehicle last Sunday looked back at one man at least a dozen times. From afar it looked as if she wanted to do something to help but at the same time didn’t want to get involved.
Last week we heard that Gloucester Foodbank is under threat of closure if it does not find a new home soon.
When I see a man munching through leftovers from a commercial waste bin on a Sunday afternoon as if he’s tucking into a delicious Sunday roast, I know there is a serious problem in this city.
I’ve even been confronted with a man half submerged in my own bin at home who quickly told me ‘it’s not your bin anyway’ before scurrying off.
It has been argued that some people actually choose this existence. Perhaps some do, but for the most part I can hardly believe that to be the case.
One of the more interesting scenarios was what seemed to be a husband and wife rifling through a skip together. They even brought along the family pooch and two push trolleys to lighten the load.
I hope the Citizen highlighting what is happening in our city’s back streets will be a force for good. Who will dare stick their head above the parapet and actually do something about it? Will any politician speak about the issue? Or will it be left to hard-pressed voluntary groups (who are having their local authority funding slashed) to pick up the pieces?
Putting locks on the bins will put pay to the bin rummagers, but it won’t solve the real problem.