- City-owned trash cans in parks and along sidewalks in Worcester, MA are overflowing with illegally dumped household trash, and Public Works and Parks Commissioner Paul Moosey said his department is "stepping up enforcement." Video is being reviewed where available, and bulk trash is being examined for items that can identify scofflaws.
- The city only has one employee to empty hundreds of public trash cans in the city's parks. Moosey said delays can happen when the employee is taken off his route to return to a can that was just emptied, then illegally refilled. "Sometimes the baskets are so filled with household trash that there's no space for someone to throw away their coffee cup or small item of trash," he said.
- The City Council in 2010 barred household or commercial trash in city trash cans, with fines of $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second, $200 for a third and $300 for subsequent offenses.
Currently in Worcester, residents must dispose of household waste via the "Yellow Trash Bag Program" by purchasing official City of Worcester garbage bags from retailers in the city. Therefore, dumping household waste in a public bin is a cost-effective, yet illegal, way of disposing waste.
Illegal dumping is a problem in many other places across the nation. In Delaware, Fresh Pond’s recycling drop-off site issued a warning in July that it could close if residents don’t stop dumping unwanted, non-recyclable waste, such as mattresses and bicycles. Ford City, PA, has the same problem.
Surveillance may be the best way to combat the issue. In Ohio, an EPA grant of $5,455 will purchase four high-tech cameras and five standard trail cameras to be placed on rural public lands in Athens and Hocking counties to capture illegal dumping. While the City of Worcester has agreed to review video where available, purchasing more cameras may be a worthy investment.
City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. has indicated that he is considering adding another person to empty trash in next year's budget. In the meantime, city departments are working together to catch scofflaws.