Marquis of Debris: Trash pickup often a letdown at strip mall

Trash overflows from bins at the New World Shopping Plaza in South Philly.
Trash overflows from bins at the New World Shopping Plaza in South Philly. (Kar Vivekananthan)
Posted: May 23, 2011

NEIGHBORS NEAR the New World Shopping Plaza, at 6th Street and Washington Avenue in the Southwark section of South Philly, are fed up with trash from Dumpsters there spilling over into the parking lot and onto the sidewalks.

A restaurant manager at the shopping center says he's just as upset about the situation - and has lent his own time, energy and money trying to fix it.

Harry Tran, a manager at the Ba Le Restaurant and Bakery, said all the businesses in the shopping plaza use a common trash area behind his restaurant.

Tran said Allied Waste, a waste-management company with which the strip mall contracts, has been inconsistent in hauling the trash away.

The company's trucks are supposed to pick up the trash six mornings a week, Tran said, "and that just hasn't happened."

This drove Tran to pay people to clean the lot, and to sweep and bleach the area himself, only for mountains of trash to reappear when the garbage truck doesn't show up, or arrives late.

"When the wind picks up, the trash gets whipped all throughout the neighborhood," said Kar Vivekananthan, who lives across the street from the shopping center, and provided the Marquis photo evidence of the disgusting problem.

He's already spotted rats roaming near the Dumpsters.

Vivekananthan said that when the temperature rises, the intense smell of trash hovers over the neighborhood.

"It gets absolutely disgusting," he said of the problem that's plagued his neighborhood for years.

Tran estimates that within the past month or so, trash has been left in the parking lot or picked up late five times.

"I complain all the time," he said. "The trash company doesn't have a solution, and we are scrambling to find a solution."

The restaurant is negotiating with other businesses in the strip mall to build a fence in front of the Dumpsters to keep garbage from spilling over into the parking lot when it doesn't get picked up.

He said businesses in the shopping center are also negotiating with a supermarket on the other side of 6th Street to use Dumpsters there when their own are full.

Although both plans would be a tremendous help, Tran said he and other business owners shouldn't have to go to such lengths when they already pay a company to haul the trash away.

Allied Waste representatives didn't feel the need to return the Marquis' phone messages.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: The primary elections may be over, but you'd never know it from the amount of signs and fliers still littering the city.

The Marquis understands your staffs worked hard to distribute these materials. Now you need to work just as hard to do the responsible thing and pick them up.

And if you don't, the Marquis will start calling you out soon.

If you see areas still covered with campaign posters, email the Marquis of Debris at trash@phillynews.com. You can also unleash your inner neat-freak by finding the Marquis on Facebook.

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