Excess litter and illegal dumping sites are more than just visually unappealing. They create hazardous pollution which can seep into our waterways and harm the earth. In an effort to address these illegal dumping sites, New York City Councilwoman Linda Lee has launched an initiative in partnership with the Department of Sanitation asking on the public’s assistance in identifying these locations across her district.
“Illegal dumping continues to plague Eastern Queens as a whole and some of the most beautiful areas of our district in particular,” Lee said in a statement. “Illegal dumping turns our green spaces into eyesores and attracts pests to our communities, posing health hazards to us all. Each and every one of us not only has a responsibility to not dump garbage in public but also to report illegal dumping and take steps to clean it up. I want to thank the hardworking men and women of the Sanitation Department who work each and every day to keep our neighborhood clean, healthy, and vibrant and often go unnoticed.”
The cleanup initiative is the third to take place as part of Lee’s Spring Cleaning series, which aims at beautifying and restoring public areas across the Council District. Lee previously partnered with the Queens Economic Development Corporation to clean graffiti from public spaces and businesses, and the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless to clean litter from public and green spaces. To date, a total of 20 locations have been cleaned as part of the Spring Cleaning series.
Illegal dumping is caused by the illicit disposal of material or debris left on any street, lot, park, public space, or any other publicly or privately owned area. Vehicle owners and drivers are legally responsible for any dumping involving a vehicle, with fines running from $4,000 to $18,000. Anyone who reports illegal dumping or an illegal dumper in the act is eligible for a reward of up to 50 percent of the fine collected.
In addition to Lee’s efforts, the DSNY also run the Neighborhood Vacant Lot Cleanup Program to reduce blight and keep areas safe and clean.
Property owners or building managers are responsible for the removal of small amounts of trash dumped on public sidewalks adjacent to their property. These same property owners and managers are responsible even if they filed a report of illegal dumping.
District 23 residents who want to report illegal dumping or locations with significant litter pileups can call Lee’s office at (718) 468-0137 or email District23@council.nyc.gov.