Why the waste sector is calling for the government to relax rules around immigration and self-isolating


The pandemic affected all the business sectors in the UK, but one area that feels the effects is the waste disposal sector. While the government is busy ensuring that frontline workers are okay, the waste sector gets little attention. As time goes by, it is clear that the waste sector needs attention, and it is an essential service.

How Immigrant Laws Affected the Waste Sector

One of the things that led to the waster sector getting attention is the closing of the borders and the self-isolation laws. Most of the high vehicle (HGV) drivers are immigrants. Currently, there is minimal border crossing happening. As such, there is no one there to drive the trucks. Waste disposal and pickup have now become an issue. Most citizens are staying with their trashcans full for longer, and this is because the sector has fewer drivers. There are fewer immigrant workers in the country, and Brexit made the matter even worse. According to the Environmental Services Association’s executive officer, Jacob Hayler, getting new drivers and training them will take a while. Most domestic drivers are unwilling to go to the job, making it even harder for the sector.

Coronavirus and the Waste Collection

Another thing that waste collectors worry about is how long the virus stays active on surfaces. Most workers are afraid to sort through the trash since they do not know if they will contract the virus. In delaying the collection of trash, they endanger the lives of the people living around it. Employees who test positive for the Coronavirus have to self-isolate, thus affecting work efficiency.

Suggestions for Change

Mr Hayler says that the government needs to pay attention to the waste sector. Without doing so, the country will face what he called a “pingdemic.” According to Mr. Hayler, the government paying more attention to the waste sector would be helpful in the long run. The government should allow for more immigrant workers as they train domestic drivers.

How Increasing Workers Will Help

With an increase in immigrant drivers, the waste sector will have more drivers. Rubbish collection and removal will be faster, and there will be less rubbish in residential areas. Mr. Hayley says getting more drivers is very urgent, and they should be in the same category as front liners. The suggestion was HGV drivers should get treatment equal to other drivers in different sectors. Currently, they earn less, and that discourages anyone from joining the profession. Better pay and working conditions will ensure more people join the sector.

The Covid-19 pandemic is making it hard for the waste sector to operate normally. The waste management sector plays a significant role in cleaning the country. The government needs to focus on improving its service delivery. The government can make this possible by relaxing some of the Covid-19 regulations. Some areas that need less regulation are self-isolation and immigration.