The Los Angeles City Council voted Aug. 25 to crack down on illegal dumping in the city, an issue that has been brewing over the last few years.
Under the measure, the city will reconvene an interdepartmental group that will focus on targeting dumping after a report from the Los Angeles Controller’s office in March found that illegal dumping of trash and hazardous waste in the city increased 450 percent from 2016 to 2020.
Controller Ron Galperin’s report also noted that sanitation crews picked up 14,500 tons of solid waste in the first eight months of 2020—an increase from 9,200 tons in 2016, with some areas seeing 500 to 600 percent increases.
A spokesperson for Galperin told The Epoch Times in an email that the city is cleaning up more trash each year, but not deterring people from dumping it.
Galperin called on the city to take action to eliminate illegal dumping and to “hold responsible those accountable for the harm it causes local communities.”
“Public spaces meant to be used by everyone are being abused by too many,” Galperin said. “Businesses and individuals are illegally dumping thousands of tons of trash, debris and hazardous waste on our sidewalks and streets, lessening the quality of life nearby.”
The report said that the city’s Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN) is also tackling cleanups and illegal dumping created by homeless encampments, and that slows sanitation crews’ ability to respond to illegal dumping reports. The average time it took cleanup crews to respond to reports in 2020 was five days.
Los Angeles Sanitation General Manager Enrique Zaldivar told the Los Angeles Times in March that the department had only seven enforcement staffers and 17 vacancies, which they couldn’t fill due to the city’s hiring freeze.
The report said there’s often a nexus between illegal dumping and the buildup of large discarded items at homeless encampments.
“While homeless encampments and illegal dumping are two distinct issues, they often exist within the same spaces,” the report said. “This is because illegal dumpers sometimes seek out spaces that are already impacted by poor sanitary conditions. Illegal dumping at encampments or in adjacent spaces only worsens unhealthy living conditions for unhoused individuals.”
In addition to reconvening the interdepartmental working group, the city council’s motion will also instruct LASAN to report back to the city in 60 days about several initiatives, including the number of permanent illegal dumping crews required to meet demand, the number of existing vacancies across several key departments, and purchasing and installing 60 illegal-dumping cameras across the city.
“I applaud the city council for taking action on my report,” Galperin said. “This will help the city be more aggressive with its illegal-dumping response, resulting in cleaner communities and a safer, healthier environment for all Angelenos.”