Binmen strike in London is over but mess will take longer to clean up

Opposite Spitalfields food market in east London, rotting fruit swims in the liquid that leaks from discarded coconuts once used as cups for fresh juice from a nearby stall, and flies buzz around a half-eaten kebab and a discarded slice of pizza.

A walk through the London borough of Tower Hamlets would normally take you past world famous curry houses, street art and some of the capital’s oldest landmarks.

But for the past week, the area’s sights and sounds have struggled to compete with the putrid smell of rising piles of rubbish.

A week-long bin worker strike came to an end on Tuesday evening after the council announced that it had reached a deal with workers.

It may be over, but it will take weeks to clean up the mess left behind, with rubbish piled several feet high and littered across the pavements and roads.

Along the borough’s main thoroughfares on Tuesday it was impossible to walk more than 100 yards without seeing another mound of abandoned waste.

On a hot and windy day, the smell wafting from the mounds was putrid, a sickly mixture of rotting food and dumped fizzy drinks.

The presence of rats and foxes was evident in ripped bigs and strewn debris, which left Lucozade bottles, crisp packets and broken glass beer bottles littering the pavements and cycle path of Whitechapel High Street.

Piles of rubbish three bags high stretch the length of the Afrikana restaurant in Mile End, alongside drums of used cooking oil, empty Fanta cans and used cardboard boxes.

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