UK

‘Mind blowing’ number of laughing gas canisters collected after Notting Hill Carnival

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treet cleaners have collected a “mind blowing” 3.5 tonnes of laughing gas canisters following the Notting Hill Carnival, which is causing delays to the clean-up process.

The huge number of nitrous oxide cannisters have to be separated from other rubbish for safety purposes, which is proving to be a time consuming task.

Crews expect to have collected four skips full – with more than 1000 canisters that contained the gas with the street name “hippy crack” – by Friday.

SUEZ UK said its teams have been working around the clock to clear up the area and have faced “unprecedented challenges this year due to police barricades and a high volume of nitrous oxide cannisters which must be separated by hand for safety purposes”.

Gary O’Hagan, in charge of the Notting Hill clean-up operation for the waste management company, said the sheer amount of canisters is “mind blowing” and causing “a real problem” for 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.”

The Standard understands close to five tonnes is expected to be collected by Friday.

Kensington and Chelsea councillor Emma Will said:“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.

“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.”

SUEZ UK has received complaints from local residents about the time it has taken to clear the streets, with one person claiming on Twitter it has been “terrible”.

More than 200 waste collectors and street cleaners have been working to clear the area and recycle 30 per cent of all waste.

300 tonnes of rubbish has been cleared from the streets

/ Kensington and Chelsea Council

An estimated 300 tonnes of rubbish has been collected.

Kensington and Chelsea council said the huge haul of discarded food containers, drinks cans and laughing gas nitrous oxide canisters weighed the same as 25 double decker London buses.

Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is an increasingly popular drug. Doctors in the UK have issued a warning over a rise in patients being admitted to hospital after it, following a number of warnings by police.

Specialist neurologists and toxicologists have revealed that there has been a 257 per cent rise in serious poisonings from abuse of the gas, with young people being admitted to emergency departments approximately every two weeks, according to the Independent.

In a 2019-20 Crime Survey for England and Wales, almost 9 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds said they’d taken nitrous oxide in the last year, a rise of 6.1 per cent from 2012-13, the Guardian reported.

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