Littering up at city waste baskets

Posted: August 25, 2014

ILLEGAL DUMPING is nothing new in Philadelphia, but even the most discreet of muck miscreants had managed to keep it to vacant lots and side alleys.

But in recent years, Deputy Streets Commissioner Donald Carlton said problems with illegal dumping have seeped into the city's downtown business corridors and shopping avenues, making those who have to witness it bitter about litter.

Of the 900 public litter baskets on street corners across the city, he said many are being used as household garbage receptacles when they are intended to give residents and visitors a place to stash their trash.

"We're seeing . . . individuals bringing four to five bags and placing them around the wire baskets because they know we service these baskets daily," Carlton said. And "it's gotten worse over the past few years."

Carlton said the abuse results, in some cases, because multiple families are residing in one home and generating trash more quickly and need to get rid of it.

To try to mitigate the problem, he said the Streets Department has stepped up education and enforcement efforts regarding illegal dumping.

The department has begun deploying Streets and Walkways Education and Enforcement Program (SWEEP) officers to canvass neighborhoods and educate the public about proper trash disposal. When the officers find overflowing public litter baskets, they investigate illegal dumping and, when possible, issue $150 citations for their misuse.

The city also is expanding the number of drop-off locations for those wanting to get rid their rubbish early, Carlton said

In addition to the regular curbside pickup - where residents can dispose of up to eight large bags at a time - Sanitation Convenience Centers in the southwest, northwest and northeast sections of the city are available. Another location on 26th Street near Glenwood Avenue will open Sept. 22. The operating hours for all locations are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

On Twitter: @RuffTuffDH

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