LA City Council To Consider Doubling Staff That Responds To Illegal Dumping

Orange couch on the street in Soho

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - As part of a plan to address illegal street dumping across Los Angeles, the City Council will consider a recommendation by the Bureau of Sanitation today to significantly increase the number of staff that responds to calls about illegal dumping and to expand the city's Comprehensive Cleaning and Rapid Engagement (CARE/CARE+) program at encampments.  

The motion would add 61 positions to keep city sidewalks and public areas clean, sanitary, safe and accessible by removing abandoned waste. The Bureau of Sanitation currently has nine two-person teams that deploy each day to handle illegal dumping cleanup, according to the bureau. The Office of Community Beautification also provides funding to address loose trash and debris, and council district offices fund their own crews to address it as well.  

The motion would also reconvene the interdepartmental Illegal Dumping Working Group, which will consider creating a camera program -- including through ``dummy cameras''--  to address dumping and levying fines and other penalties that sufficiently deter violations.  

Following the vote, Los Angeles City Councilmen Kevin de León, Paul Koretz and Mitch O'Farrell will have a news conference to announce the measures, which they expect to pass.  

De León introduced a series of motions on Feb. 1, all passed by the City Council in recent months, aimed at addressing illegal dumping, including having the Bureau of Sanitation and the City Attorney's Office report on resources needed to establish an enforcement and prosecution program.  

``The city of Los Angeles is facing a crisis when it comes to trash, bulky items and illegal dumping. In every corner of the city, pieces of furniture, loose debris and trash piles are prevalent,'' de León wrote in one of five motions introduced Feb. 1 as part of his ``Clean Streets Now'' plan.  

Tuesday's vote comes more than a year after Controller Ron Galperin released a report that found illegal dumping of trash and hazardous items in the city's public areas increased 450% between 2016 and 2020. Galperin said the Bureau of Sanitation is struggling to keep up with the increasing amount of waste dumped on sidewalks, streets and alleys, and the waste is making it unsafe for all Angelenos.  

The amount of solid waste picked up by sanitation crews increased from 9,200 tons in 2016 to 14,500 tons in the first eight months of 2020, according to the report.  

The report also said that the Bureau of Sanitation's resources are spread too thin because it is charged with handling illegal dumping and cleanups of homeless encampments, and as a result the average time it took sanitation crews to respond to illegal dumping requests in 2020 was five days.  

The bureau has 19 surveillance cameras across the 470-square-mile city to catch illegal street dumping incidents.

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