More on this petition:
Dear Gemeenteraad Den Haag, Whilst fixating on removing bin bags from the streets of The Hague, you have come up with a plan for placing underground waste storage containers (ORACs) in the Zeeheldenkwartier that breaks nearly all of your own criteria for such a plan, raises safety concerns and leads to additional pollution and nuisance in the area. This plan could potentially ruin our neighbourhood. We’d like you to go back to the drawing board and produce a new plan that ticks both your boxes and ours. In terms of your own criteria; to use the ORACs many people will have to walk a lot further than your absolute maximum of 125m (with the "winners" walking 200m); pedestrians will be encouraged to cross main roads and way too many parking places will disappear. We’re holding our breath to see how many trees need to go and whether the super-huge truck will get stuck in our small streets. The plan is also incomplete: nearly half the neighbourhood will not get the ORACs because this half does not meet the criteria. We would say that the entire neighbourhood does not meet the criteria. We also have some safety and environmental concerns. Having a huge truck moving through the streets twice as frequently (ORACs to be emptied twice per week) than the current waste collection vehicle will increase pollution and emission levels - air quality is already a problem here. We don’t think the plan contributes to CO2 neutrality, a cleaner city or makes for a more pleasant environment. To get to the ORACs the truck will have to cross busy cycle paths, footpaths and roads and squeeze down streets where children are playing. Just increasing the frequency of circuits through the neighbourhood increases the chance of accidents at these hot spots. The ORACs are crammed into side streets in groups of two, three or four and whilst emptying them the truck will have to stay still for 5-10 minutes per container, so the street will be blocked for a significant period of time. At busier points this will lead to tailbacks even onto the main roads – also against the rules. Car drivers tend to behave badly when they find a street blocked for any length of time ranging from blowing their horn, reversing without sufficient visibility, through to driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Cyclists on the other hand mount the pavement or try and squeeze past endangering themselves or pedestrians. Because of the way the ORACs look and due to the clustering in the side streets it will appear as though new city dumps have sprung up around our neighbourhood. They will look like an appropriate place to dump large waste and placing a bin bag next to them if the ORAC is jammed or full will feel okay. They don’t look nice and nearby residents will have to put up with the consequences. Since the ORACs are in clusters and not spread evenly through the neighbourhood there are not so many residents in the immediate vicinity. So not so many people to complain about the daily smell, twice per week noise when the ORACs are being emptied or the noise late at night when they are being used illegally by businesses or “rubbish tourists” from elsewhere – why are they not spread evenly and why have you not included controls on who can use the ORACs with some sort of pass? Maybe it is a small number of people but the nearby residents suffer disproportionately as a result of your plan. So Council, come up with a new plan to get our rubbish underground that works for the entire Zeeheldenkwartier, fits in with the look and feel of the neighbourhood, has less safety and environmental issues and one that fits your own criteria. It would also be useful to spread the ORACs around more evenly to reduce the walking distances but also to minimize the nuisance if you live near one (let alone three). There is a lot of talk in Council and political party literature about consulting the public. We were certainly not talked to before the Council came up with this plan, but let’s do that before you draft the new one.