The garbage cans on the sidewalk on some of the busiest streets in the neighborhood, such as Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road, have been rendered useless because they are usually overflowing with trash.
It’s an issue that residents of the community have complained about often, and with regularity, according to Theresa Scavo, the chairperson of Community Board 15 (CB15).
“You can’t keep up with the garbage,” said Scavo. “You can’t stay on top of it unless you are constantly picking up the trash.”
A big contributor to the problem is the use of the public receptacles by residents of nearby houses and apartment buildings, according to Scavo. People who lack space to store garbage where they live tend to drop their garbage off at the public wastebaskets on their way to work early in the morning or late at night.
“Say you live above a store, so you don’t have a garbage pail in front of your residence. So you pack it up and drop it off on the way to the train,” explained Scavo, who gets complaints about the overflowing garbage cans on a regular basis. “If you go to Emmons Avenue right now there’s a guy cleaning out his car and then they put the trash in the receptacle.”
The solution, according to Scavo, is increasing the rates at which the Department of Sanitation (DOS) pick up the trash, and enforcing the existing law with regard to dumping residential garbage in the public wastebaskets.
The issue isn’t about a lack of garbage cans, but the huge amount of people in such a small area, said Scavo.
City Councilmember Chaim Deutsch has made it his business to alleviate the overflowing of the garbage cans and the litter in the streets.
“When it comes to littering, I happen to be a clean freak,” said Deutsch. “I want the district to look the same way as I treat the cleanliness of my house. I’m very into keeping our streets clean.”
Deutsch has allocated funds to the DOS to pick up trash around the commercial areas of the district more often. He has also increased street sweeping hours in the district and he sends out manual litter patrol which consists of people who patrol areas like Sheepshead Bay Road around East 15 Street and clean the streets.
Deutsch did make the point that this is a partnership between the city’s civil servants and its residents, so neighbors must also do their part to keep the community clean.
“You can bring in as many of these resources as you want but without the partnership, it’ll still be an issue,” said Deutsch. “People shouldn’t be throwing household trash into corner wastebaskets. Be more vigilant when throwing trash out of car windows.”
The fine for discarding residential trash in the public wastebasket is $100, but the summons can’t be given unless the enforcement agent from the DOS watches the person leave their residence with the trash and put it in the basket. Obviously, a DOS agent can’t watch every garbage can at all times, so the garbage quickly piles up, according to Scavo.
The DOS did not respond to requests for comment on time for publication, but we will update the article if and when they respond.