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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

A woman in England says she’s living in a "sea of maggots" in her new home amid trash bin battle

When Yasmin Khanam moved into her house in Stanwell, Surrey, last November, she did so looking to start a family. Now, less than a year later, she’s got new residents in her home — but they’re all maggots.

The 29-year-old told BBC News that she’s been caught up in a trash tussle. There are communal garbage bins right outside her home that are supposed to be cleared out every two weeks, but she says they’ve been overflowing for months.

The pile-ups started last December, but Khanam told local outlet Surrey Live that she thought it was going to be a temporary problem caused by Christmas gifts. But it just never went away. And because of the excessive trash, BBC News found that it’s often unsafe for it to be collected.

“We bought the house to start a family,” Khanam told BBC News. “…I can’t start a family when you’ve got a house full of maggots.”

Maggots appear where flies lay their eggs, usually in food and trash. According to pest control service PestUK, flies remain in their maggot stage for roughly a week when they have food and water before turning into pupa and then adult flies. Without food or water, however, they live just two to three days.

Killing them requires removing their source of food and applying an insecticide, the service says.

For Khanam, the problem is only getting worse. It’s so bad, in fact, that she says it’s “unbearable,” and that she’s living in a “sea of maggots.” Sometimes, she even has to go stay at her father’s house to avoid the problem, she told Surrey Live.

“It rained outside and we were walking through maggots. They were stuck to our shoes,” she said. “If you open the window, you get flies. Flies and the smell.”

Khanam said she’s been trying to address the problem with the Spelthorne Borough Council, who is responsible for the trash teams, as well as property owner A2Dominion.

But a solution has yet to be found. According to the Spelthorne Borough Council, excess trash “will not be removed” and residents must wait until the next trash collection date or take it to the local recycling center themselves. The council says that if maggots are in a bin, it must be emptied and that residents should pour boiling water over the maggots and flies inside to kill them before cleaning out the bin with disinfectant.

A2Dominion’s homes and communities director Dawn Wightman told BBC News that they’ve been “trying to find a practical solution that will work for everyone,” but that there are “space constraints” to consider.

“Our contractors have been asked to trial an additional weekly visit to prepare the bins for the Tuesday local authority collections which we hope will help keep things in order,” Wightman said, also telling Surrey Live that they are considering implementing a digital lock to help keep the area “clean and tidy.”

“In an effort to make sure collections happen on time we’ve also written to our residents to remind them how to use the waste and recycling bins and we will do this again,” Wightman said.

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