Last week, WHYY hosted TrashTalk -Working toward a clean Philadelphia! The conversation focused on panelists: Meir Rinde, Terrill Haigler, Matthew George, Shari Hersh, and Kyle Lewisdove discussing the work being done in the city to clean streets and reduce illegal dumping. Learn more here.
I Love Thy Hood - a program that launched two years ago, distributes bright orange bins to encourage trash collection and discourage littering.
Like-minded residents and business owners take up the burden of emptying these cans and their program so far has placed more than 106 cans on blocks around the city and collected over 100,000 pounds of trash. Philadelphia’s sanitation department helps I Love Thy Hood, in that its workers empty many of the orange cans and haul away the collected bags of trash. The city has installed municipal trash receptacles on some streets, but they’re not emptied often enough and regularly overflow.
The city has experimented with litter-reduction pilots, such as placing colorful trash cans on blocks in two neighborhoods. A pilot program called PhilaCan provides residential bins on certain blocks. But the city has never provided the consistent attention that neighborhoods need.
Surveillance Cameras remain Philadelphia's best idea to combat Illegal Dumping. To discourage and punish offenders, the Streets Department expanded its use of surveillance cameras at dumping hotspots, he explained. The agency installed 15 new, high-end devices in 2018 and gradually increased the number, first to 50 and then to 100.
The new cameras, which cost $4,000 each, soon showed their worth. The District Attorney’s office prosecuted 31 dumping cases in 2019, won 10 guilty verdicts or pleas, and resolved seven cases through misdemeanor diversions. Judges ordered defendants to pay almost $8,000 and serve 302 hours of community service. Whatever technology is deployed, it only leads to cleaner streets if it is part of a comprehensive program supported by residents and multiple levels of government,
Municipal action is needed to purchase and distribute large trash bins with attached lids and wheels. Switching to a system of standardized trash cans and semi-automated collection trucks will save time (which should mean more pick-ups), prevent more injuries, and reduce mess.
Neighborhood buy-in is essential and a prerequisite to municipal action. If you would like to get involved with CCRA’s TrashForce, please email firstname.lastname@example.org