‘Cleaning up London’s streets is so grim it makes my eyes water’

A street cleaner in Central London finds the mess he has to clear up so grim it makes his eyes water.

Scot Zweers cycles seven miles from Streatham Hill to Soho every morning to help clean 150 tonnes of rubbish from the area.

He then cleans a further eight to 10 miles on an electric bike complete with jet washers and before cycling home again at the end of his shift.

So far this month he has cycled 600 miles up and down Soho’s streets clearing rubbish and human waste.

READ MORE: Soho trader furious that people keep going to the toilet and having sex by his fridges

Cleaning the streets of Soho is no easy task, and for Scot it’s often an off-putting task.

He said: “You will be moving some bags and you will find people’s faeces or vomit. The smell is sometimes so bad. I’m quite squeamish. It’s eye-watering.

“When it’s summer people don’t go home they just linger. When people come out they just want to hang about. The bins are full up in minutes.”

Westminster cleaners worked tirelessly around fans for 19 hours after the Euro 2020 final

Cleaning the West End is a full-scale operation. There are 170 cleaners who work across all hours of the day and in the busiest areas of Central London bins have to be changed every 45 minutes.

Borough-wide Westminster City Council uses 80 waste collection vehicles and 136 street cleansing vehicles to clear the streets.

Abdul, who cleans the streets of Soho each morning and didn’t want to give his last name, added: “I have seen everything. Vomiting, p******. Every day. They use it like a toilet.”

One third of waste in the City of Westminster comes from the West End alone – and Soho and Leicester Square are often the worst hit spots.

Following the Euro 2020 final, 20 tonnes of litter was dumped onto the streets of Soho and Leicester Square.

To cope with the mess, 215 workers along with 20 vehicles for collecting waste and street cleaning, spent 19 hours clearing up after fans.

The result meant Central London was transformed back to normal in time for the working day the following morning.

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Westminster City Council inspector Sham Libyrd added: “Every street has its own problems. It looks very different at night.”

Often it is the small wine bars that cause the most mess according to Sham.

Sham explained that many club goers head straight home after partying but often people tear out of bars earlier and cause more disruption on the streets.

When the Local Democracy Reporting Service joined Westminster cleaners at 6am on Friday morning it found sick on several street corners, while a party was still taking place above shops.

Waste levels in Soho are now 75 per cent of what they were at the end of pre-pandemic levels but are growing consistently since lockdown ended.

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