A Facebook protest set up over the weekend has gathered support from scores of people campaigning for Douglas to return to weekly waste collections.

This comes after Douglas Council changed the schedule of waste collection from weekly to fortnightly in September.

In a post, a member said: ‘Douglas Corporation has introduced fortnightly collections of refuse without understanding the impact on disadvantage people or the capacity requirement, particularly in apartments and flats.

‘Most serious of all the issues not being considered by this decision is the bioaerosol exposure to humans given off by food waste to both the council’s employees handling the waste and to the residents.’

The member stated that this exposure could create a grave public health risk.

Bioaerosols are particles which are comprised of components such as fungi, pollen, bacteria and viruses.

Research has shown that long-term exposure can affect respiratory health.

Mark Tweedle, director at Douglas Head Apartments, said: ‘We have never had issues with waste before. However, since the collection changed, the bins have been overfilled. There have been concerns about rats and the smell which has infiltrated into people’s flats.’

He added: ‘In terms of volume the Douglas Corporation have told us that a two-bedroom flat is entitled to 70 litres, yet building regulations state that the figure should be 240 litres in volume of waste per week.

‘In the UK, food waste is collected separately, and is collected every week, and it is the general bins and recycling which is collected in alternate weeks, which is in recognition of harmful bioaerosols. In the Isle of Man, we do not separate food waste from general bins, and so it will now be collected fortnightly. This will be even more of a problem in summer, where food waste is heated and bioaerosol exposure is greater.’

He added: ‘Douglas Corporation’s response has been that residents need to recycle better. My understanding of it is that the residents are mindful of recycling, however the issue lies with the volume of food waste and frequency that it is collected.’