Trash collectors in Ukraine say they risk their lives dodging unexploded mortars

Rubbish collectors in war-torn Ukraine say they must dodge unexploded mortars to collect trash.

Rows of high-rise apartment blocks in the north eastern edge of Kharkiv has been left in ruins from Russian mortar attacks.

Some of the Soviet-era housing complexes have craters from Russian rockets. Others have been ravaged by fire.

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Some of the buildings have been so heavily pounded by Russian artillery that they've partially collapsed.

Yet some residents are returning to fix up their apartments, while some have never left.

And because of this they are producing more and more trash and the bins are always full.

Andrey Taranenko drives a white municipal garbage truck through Kharkiv's Saltivka neighbourhood.

He said: "When people started to come back, they'd left fridges here full of food.

"So they started to throw away things they didn't need. So of course there was a lot of garbage here."

He says that due to the shelling and debris in the streets, garbage trucks couldn't get in to some areas for weeks. Trash was piling up on the sidewalks and everything was rotting.

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Saltivka remains in range of Russian artillery though the shelling here now is intermittent.

Taranenko and his three-man crew all have been issued bulletproof vests.

Tarenko, who has been a binman for the last 16 years, said: "Yesterday for example it was quite loud here and honestly I was quite scared. It's better to move somewhere."

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In this part of Saltivka, there are no shops or businesses open. The power is still out. Buses haven't resumed.

Svetlana Bobrysheva has remained there throughout the war. She says she takes cover in a basement bomb shelter when the shelling gets really bad.

She added: "Thanks so much to these guys. They have been with us since the first days of the war."


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