Rubbish collectors say they expect to clear five tonnes of giant ‘hippy crack’ gas canisters that have littered the streets of west London after Notting Hill Carnival by the end of the week.
Some 3.5 tonnes of the potentially explosive nitrous oxide cylinders have already been picked up following the two-day street party, slowing down a mammoth clear-up operation to shift 300 tonnes of waste left from the weekend.
Crews say they expect to fill four entire skips full of the nitrous oxide bottles by Friday, which will hold an estimated 1,000 canisters.
Canisters of nitrous oxide – commonly known as laughing gas and inhaled by revellers for a quick high – have to be collected separately to other waste as they can be poisonous and even explode if compressed along with other forms of rubbish.
Kensington and Chelsea Council said 3.5 tonnes of laughing gas canisters had been collected by waste crews, filling four entire skips (pictured), but they expected this to reach five tonnes by the end of the week
The giant canisters of nitrous oxide (pictured) littered the streets of Notting Hill following the two-day carnival which took place over the Bank Holiday weekend
The canisters have significantly slowed the colossal clear-up operation, which is already one of the biggest street clean ups in Europe, following the first carnival in three years due to the pandemic.
Waste crews described the unprecedented volume of canisters as ‘mind-blowing’ and will need to factor it into planning for next year’s party.
Over Sunday and Monday nights, crews collected an estimated 300 tonnes of waste – equivalent to 25 London buses.
Some 200 cleaners and 30 refuse trucks were involved in the huge late night clean-up operation, with 30 per cent of the waste expected to be recycled.
Most streets around the event, held from Saturday to Monday, were back to normal by Wednesday, the council said.
Jet washing and the further clear up will continue into Friday, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Metropolitan Police officers seen carrying away bags full of nitrous oxide gas canisters during Notting Hill Carnival over the Bank Holiday weekend
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council said they filled entire skips full of laughing gas canisters following the festival
Gary O’Hagan, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK contract general manager, said the canisters were slowing the operation because they had to be separated by hand.
He added today (Thurs): ‘SUEZ has been carrying out the carnival clear-up for the council for many years. We have a tried and tested operational plan for what is one of the biggest clean-up operations in Europe.
‘The number of large nitrous oxide canisters we are seeing this year is mind blowing and they are causing a real problem for our crews.
‘The canisters have to be hand separated from the general waste as they can explode if compacted, posing a serious health and safety risk.
‘This has significantly slowed down the operation and we will have to re-think the collection method next year.
‘By Friday it is likely that we will have filled four skip containers with over a thousand or more canisters.
A worker sweeping the streets and picking up rubbish on Tuesday morning following Notting Hill Carnival
Super-sized canisters of nitrous oxide or ‘hippy crack’ pictured on the streets of Notting Hill in west London
Large ‘nos’ canisters were found discarded on the streets of Notting Hill (pictured) as the clean-up operation got underway on Tuesday following the two-day street party in London
‘I am incredibly proud of the work my crews have done to return the streets to normal so quickly in the face of this new challenge.’
Cllr Emma Will, Kensington and Chelsea Council’s lead member for culture, leisure and community safety, said the crews had been ‘significantly’ slowed by the sheer volume of canisters.
She added: ‘Carnival is a wonderful reflection of our diverse, multi-cultural community but we also want to return the streets back to normal as soon as possible, with minimal disruptions.
‘I want to thank our waste collection teams at SUEZ and everyone who works so hard to make that happen.
‘The 200 crew members have been significantly slowed down by the sheer volume of canisters but nevertheless are working very hard to complete clean-up as quickly as possible.’
Cleaning staff pictured at the depot ahead of the clean-up operation on Tuesday morning. An army of council workers cleared 300 tonnes of rubbish – the same weight as 25 London buses – from the capital’s streets following Notting Hill Carnival
Canisters of ‘hippy crank’ were strewn across the streets of Notting Hill as a large clean-up operation got underway on Tuesday 30 August
Metropolitan Police officers were pictured collecting bags full of large nitrous oxide gas canisters after the two-day street party in the capital over the Bank Holiday weekend
Large nitrous oxide canisters littered the streets of Landsowne Crescent in Notting Hill (pictured) following the street party in the capital over the Bank Holiday weekend
During the three-day event, a 21-year-old man was stabbed to death in front of horrified carnival revellers.
The victim, named as dad-to-be Takayo Nembhard, was brutally knifed under the Westway flyover on Ladbroke Grove, west London, at around 8pm on Monday night.
Officers formed a human chain around the heavily bleeding victim as colleagues tried to save him.
Police said there were more than 200 arrests across the weekend, including one murder, stabbings and at least eight alleged sexual assaults.
So far there have been no arrests in the murder investigation.