Oban litter ‘attracting rats’

Fish and chip litter in Oban town centre and a full bin.

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Rats have been spotted sniffing around rubbish bins in Oban – ramping up concerns about the town’s growing waste problem.

A man from Aberdeenshire visiting his elderly mother said he was ‘appalled’ to see rats roaming her back garden and contacted The Oban Times.

The man said: ‘This is causing considerable distress and upset to Oban residents and is a serious health concern. Rats are a known disease vector towards humans and the current situation is simply unacceptable.’

And a long-standing resident of Combie Lane, who regularly picks up after litterbugs,  has said bags of waste from Airbnbs guests departing their accommodation are often carelessly discarded in the alleyway just yards from the actual bins.

Local businesses backing onto the lane have also had to secure commercial waste containers to prevent people using them to offload general rubbish.

One of the bags in the alleyway contained an item bearing an address in Glenshallach Terrace.

Rubbish discarded in Combie Lane, Oban.

There have been recent calls from Oban Community Council for nightly summer collections of public waste bins after some in the town centre were overwhelmed with litter. There have been claims the problem is because of a reduced frequency in collections by Argyll and Bute Council.

However, Soroba has 3,000-litres of extra waste capacity, meaning some bins stand empty while others are filled to overflowing.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘We increased the number of recycling and general waste bins in Soroba. If people were to make full use of what is available and support our recycling efforts, as so many of our residents do, there would be enough capacity.

‘Our teams work hard to keep our communities free of waste, but everyone needs to play a part.

‘We encourage everyone to follow some basic steps to control pests, including rats, by denying them access to food.

‘Bag up waste properly, keep lids on bins and keep them clean, and don’t drop food on the ground. If you feed wild birds, consider stopping for a while or at least move the feeders about regularly.’

Councillor Jim Lynch, leader of the SNP opposition on Argyll and Bute Council, said a long-term solution is in the pipeline after positive talks with Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA).

He said it involved a combination of enclosed bin shelters and more education about waste disposal was required, which is likely to see an open day take place.

Councillor Lynch urged people not to deposit bags of rubbish alongside full bins, but to use empty containers nearby, although some times children could not reach them, he said.

‘Where there’s rubbish, there’s a rat, particular in a wild area near water.’

Rubbish stored in bags beside bins could soon be ripped open by seagulls, he said, with any spilt litter then also attracting rats.