Bridgend County Borough Council and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are warning residents of the dangers of burning household rubbish and garden waste during the coronavirus lockdown period.
There are concerns that people may use their time at home to clear out sheds and garages or do some gardening, and then be tempted to build a small bonfire to get rid of the waste rather than wait until community recycling centres in Brynmenyn, Maesteg and Tythegston are reopened.
Even small, supervised fires can be unpredictable and can quickly spread out of control, resulting in firefighting resources being called away from frontline efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic across South Wales communities.
There are also health issues associated with smoke caused by bonfires, including respiratory problems for neighbours – government advice for people with symptoms or who may be recovering at home from the coronavirus includes keeping windows open.
Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said:
“Although our garden waste collection service has had to stop as a result of the ongoing outbreak, weekly refuse and recycling collections are continuing as normal.
“With no limits on the amount of recycling you can put out, we are urging residents to dispose of their waste as responsibly and as environmentally-friendly as possible. Composting offers an excellent solution for garden waste, and you can also store or stack items that cannot be composted or recycled until the pandemic is over and community recycling centres reopen.
“We all have a duty to help protect our firefighters, the NHS and our local communities as best we can during the pandemic, and one of the ways in which we can achieve this is by not lighting fires in the garden.”
Dean Loader, Head of Community Safety and Risk Reduction for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, added:
“Burning your garden or household waste could cause unnecessary demand on our crews having to attend these fires, and also create a greater number of calls to our Control Room.
“The effects of the smoke could also affect your breathing, irritate your skin and eyes and worsen respiratory conditions like asthma.”