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Garbage collectors say they expect to clear five tons of giant ‘hippie-crack’ gas cylinders that have littered the streets of west London by the end of the week after Notting Hill Carnival.
Some 3.5 tons of the potentially explosive nitrous oxide cylinders have already been collected after the two-day street party, delaying a massive cleanup operation to move 300 tons of waste from the weekend.
The crews say they expect four whole containers full of nitrous oxide bottles, which will contain an estimated 1,000 jerry cans, by Friday.
Canisters of nitrous oxide — commonly known as nitrous oxide and inhaled by revelers for a quick high — should be collected separately from other waste, as they can be toxic and can even explode if compacted with other types of waste.
Kensington and Chelsea Council said 3.5 tons of nitrous oxide bottles had been collected by waste crews, filling four whole containers (pictured), but they expected this to reach five tons by the end of the week
The giant canisters of nitrous oxide (pictured) littered the streets of Notting Hill after the two-day carnival that took place over the Bank Holiday weekend
The buses have significantly delayed the colossal cleanup operation, which is already one of the largest street cleanups in Europe, after the pandemic’s first carnival in three years.
Waste crews described the unprecedented volume of jerry cans as ‘stunning’ and will have to factor this into their planning for next year’s party.
On Sunday and Monday evenings, crews collected an estimated 300 tons of waste, equivalent to 25 London buses.
Some 200 cleaners and 30 garbage trucks were involved in the massive late-night cleanup, with 30 percent of the waste expected to be recycled.
Most streets around the event, which was held from Saturday to Monday, were back to normal on Wednesday, the municipality said.
According to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the jet wash and further cleanup will continue until Friday.
Metropolitan Police officers spotted carrying bags full of nitrous oxide bottles at Notting Hill Carnival over the Bank Holiday weekend
The council of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said they filled entire containers full of nitrous oxide bottles after the festival
Gary O’Hagan, SUEZ UK’s general contract manager for recycling and recovery, said the buses were delaying operation because they had to be separated by hand.
He added today (Thursday): ‘SUEZ has been carrying out the carnival clean-up for the municipality for years. We have a proven operational plan for what is one of the largest cleanup operations in Europe.
“The number of large nitrous oxide canisters we are seeing this year is astonishing and they are causing a major problem for our crews.
“The jerry cans must be separated from general waste by hand as they can explode if crushed, posing a serious health and safety risk.
‘This has slowed down the operation considerably and next year we will have to reconsider the collection method.
‘On Friday we probably filled four skip containers with more than a thousand or more canisters.
A worker sweeping the streets and picking up trash on Tuesday morning after Notting Hill Carnival
Super-sized jerry cans of nitrous oxide or ‘hippie crack’ pictured on the streets of Notting Hill in west London
Large ‘nos’ buses were found on the streets of Notting Hill (pictured) as the clean-up operation kicked off on Tuesday after London’s two-day street party
“I’m incredibly proud of the work my crews have done to get the streets back to normal so quickly in the face of this new challenge.”
Cllr Emma Will, a leading Kensington and Chelsea Council member for culture, leisure and community safety, said crews had been “considerably delayed” by the sheer number of buses.
She added: ‘Carnival is a beautiful reflection of our diverse, multicultural community, but we also want to get the streets back to normal as soon as possible, with minimal disruption.
“I want to thank our SUEZ waste collection teams and everyone who works so hard to make that possible.
“The 200 crew members have been considerably delayed by the enormous volume of jerry cans, but are nevertheless working very hard to complete the cleanup as quickly as possible.”
Cleaning staff pictured at the depot prior to Tuesday morning cleaning. An army of council workers cleared 300 tons of trash – the same weight as 25 London buses – from the streets of the capital after Notting Hill Carnival
‘Hippy crank’ buses were strewn across the streets of Notting Hill as a major clean-up operation started on Tuesday, August 30
Metropolitan Police officers were pictured collecting bags full of large nitrous oxide bottles after the two-day street party in the capital over the Bank Holiday weekend
Huge nitrous oxide cans litter the streets of Landsowne Crescent in Notting Hill (pictured) after the capital’s street party over the Bank Holiday weekend
During the three-day event, a 21-year-old man was stabbed to death in front of horrified carnival-goers.
The victim, father-to-be Takayo Nembhard, was brutally stabbed under the Westway flyover at Ladbroke Grove, west London, around 8 p.m. Monday night.
Officers formed a human chain around the heavily bleeding victim as colleagues tried to save him.
Police said there were more than 200 arrests throughout the weekend, including one murder, stabbings and at least eight alleged sexual assaults.
So far, no arrests have been made in the murder investigation.