As rampant illegal dumping of trash has proliferated throughout the city due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City Councilman I. Daneek Miller announced on Thursday, Nov. 18, an allocation of funds to combat the issue in southeast Queens.
Miller, who represents Council District 27, has allocated $125,000 towards cleanup and snow removal services in the neighborhoods of Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village and Springfield Gardens.
The Councilman has partnered with the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless Inc. in their efforts to clean up the district.
Nearly $300,000 will be allocated for additional litter basket service and mobile litter patrol and the purchase and deployment of cameras at certain locations to prevent illegal dumping and prosecute perpetrators with the city Department of Sanitation.
“We’re excited to announce this new, aggressive approach to enforcement that will involve the installation of cameras to catch and prosecute illegal dumping at specific locations based on feedback from the community,” Miller said.
In certain hotspots, the overflow of trash has promoted illegal dumping of household trash, creating heaps of refuse in residential areas.
As sanitation issues heightened during the pandemic, residents in parts of southeast Queens called for additional services to remedy the buildup of trash in their neighborhoods.
According to Miller, the mobile litter units will provide additional hours of service to address these complaints and restore the level of cleanliness residents are accustomed to.
“We had made progress on illegal dumping pre-pandemic, but unfortunately, a combination of factors have contributed to a rise in cases, including the proliferation of bad actors and overcapacity waste transfer stations that can no longer accept drop-offs,” Miller said. “As such, certain individuals are now routinely dumping in a number of hotspots within the district.”
Miller says his office has been in contact with the city Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to identify areas for cleanup, dispatch additional crews and finalize funding for additional sanitation services.
“Overall, our long-term solution is a holistic approach that includes a significant investment in sanitation, increasing fines for dumping, working with community partners such as block associations, civics, and introducing legislation that will codify the agencies responsible for maintaining public properties here in the City, which currently has nineteen sponsors,” Miller said.
Miller’s legislation, Intro 2409, was introduced in September.
It would provide clarification on the jurisdiction for upkeep of certain city properties, including center malls, traffic islands, triangles, medians, underpasses, overpasses, safety zones, step streets, pedestrian walkways, sidewalks along with city-owned properties, dead-end streets and areas along arterial highways, railroad or subway lines.