Angry locals protest over rat-infested children's playpark

On Monday afternoon, a small protest formed in Govanhill Park with GMB members supporting residents.

Angry locals protest over rat-infested children’s playpark in Govanhill LDRS

Angry residents have said their kids are too scared to use the local playground because it is “overrun by rats“.

On Monday afternoon, a small protest formed in Govanhill Park with GMB members supporting residents in their demands for cleaner streets and a solution to get rid of the vermin which has been spotted in the sandpit in the children’s playpark.

Glasgow City Council has confirmed that pest control teams have been laying bait in an attempt to control the rat problem but food left over for the birds is “undermining the effectiveness of these measures.

And people visiting the playpark are now being urged to dispose of their rubbish appropriately and to stop feeding the birds which also provides a food source for rats.

Members of the GMB trade union say this is a public health issue which could have “fatal consequences” if a child or adult is bitten.

Chris Mitchell, GMB cleansing convenor, said: “I think the residents have got a right to raise it as a public health issue particularly if kids are digging up the sand and finding rat urine in the playground.

“I have been raising this for a long time but it is a public health crisis now. They always say you are never more than two feet away from a rat.

“There are fears kids in the playground could get bitten by a rat, I keep saying that rat urine can kill you, it attacks your immune system. What we don’t want is a fatality on our hands.”

Some GMB members even feel that the park should be closed while the problem is addressed while others say children still need a place to go to unwind.

Frances Stojilkovic, a local resident who is also a GMB member, said: “This is obviously a public health issue we are dealing with.

“This park should be shut down until they get this infestation under control – it’s a disaster. Is it going to take for a kid to get bitten or some sort of disease before they listen?

“There’s not even a bin inside the park so people are just going to dump their rubbish. People come in and feed the pigeons which is part of the problem as well. There are notices asking people not to do that but they are not listening.

“Govanhill residents say they are not bringing their kids into the park because they are scared to let them play in case they get bitten or catch a disease.”

Paula Logue, also a member of the GMB, said: “I am quite passionate about the issue because I have nieces, great nieces and great nephews who go to play parks so what chance do they have if they are rats running around them.

“We need to face the problem, kids have not got anywhere to go now, and kids need the playpark so don’t shut the park – come and deal with the problem.

“We are going to try and keep building momentum. The more people who are involved in this, the more we have to fight to get this problem resolved.”

Govanhill councillor Soryia Siddique says she too is concerned about the increasing number of complaints about infestation and rats in the area.

Councillor Siddique said: “The local community has been raising this for a while now. I have raised their concerns with Glasgow City Council and the Director of Public Health Glasgow and Clyde.

“Govanhill communities deserve a clean and green environment free of infestation. All stakeholders and levels of government must work together to improve the living standards of the area.”

Glasgow City Council says rats are feeding on discarded food waste rather than taking the bait laid by pest control.

A council spokesman said: “Our pest control team has been active in the park and has been laying bait in an attempt to control the rat population.

“Unfortunately, however, large amounts of food are being left for the birds and there is also other food littering in the park, which is undermining the effectiveness of the pest control measures.

“The rats in the park are feeding on the discarded food rather than taking the bait from pest control.

“We are undertaking other measures such as cutting back foliage and removing other opportunities for rats to nest.

“But it is absolutely vital that people stop leaving food in the park and ensure pest control measures have the chance to take effect.

“We have been engaging with the local community on this matter and we will also be refreshing park signage to make it as clear as possible that feeding the birds is effectively feeding the rats.”

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