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Clean-up begins following London riots

The clean-up operation following riots across London and other large UK cities has begun, with waste management companies and members of the public taking action.

Last night (8 August), the capital was hit by riots which began in Hackney and spread across nearby areas. Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham were also affected by violence.

Waste management firm Veolia Environmental Services released a statement this morning condemning the riots. Chief operating officer Tom Spaul said: “Our team in London has been working in partnership with our local authority clients to ensure a swift clean-up following the deplorable rioting and anti-social behaviour in numerous parts of Greater London.

“This has involved working long hours and mobilising additional resources where necessary. I salute all of our staff who have worked and continue to work so efficiently. I am encouraged by the number of messages of thanks that we are receiving from the general public, who have acknowledged our efforts to get London back on its feet.”

Waste management and recycling firm Bywaters reported that it had received requests from the public for the replacement of burnt-out or stolen wheelie bins. There has also been disruption to some collection routes due to the closure of several roads.

Meanwhile, members of the public have been using social networking site Twitter to organise clean-up operations across London. Empty Shops Network, which aims to find new uses for empty shops, founder Dan Thompson is spearheading the ‘riotcleanup’ hash-tag across Twitter.

He told MRW: “I thought Twitter would be the simplest way to get people to come together to help, and now we are seeing people out there cleaning up in simple ways with brooms and dustpans. The biggest clean-up has been in Clapham, where the police are actually asking people to leave because there are too many of them.”

Welcoming the campaign on Twitter and Facebook, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management 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.”

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