Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trash Tickets Given Out Freely in Ward 2 But Ward 3...Not So Much

Last week reporter Freeman Klopott of the Washington Examiner reported on the many tickets handed out by trash inspectors for the Department of Public Works to residents and businesses in Ward 2 for various violations under DC's  "Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Program." At least one of these tickets, according to the article, was written for having a single soda can (a recyclable item) in the trash; other tickets were for having un-raked leaves or for putting out bulk trash items to be picked up by the regular garbage. Some of those receiving tickets complained of over-zealous enforcement, especially in the case of a few stray recyclables mixed in with the garbage. It's common for passers-by to toss soda cans and other recyclables into a DC trash spotted at curbside for pickup. DC law says fines are applicable only when thirty percent or more of the trash should have been recycled. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans was quoted as saying that his office had been "bombarded" with complaints about these kinds of tickets.

Meanwhile, here in Ward 3, complaints tend to run in the opposite direction; on the Cleveland Park Listserv and other neighborhood forums, posters have cited cases of neighbors who dispose of their dog's waste illegally in someone else's supercan or who block the sidewalk when they put their trash cans out for pickup. When it comes to recycling, there are periodic reports by eyewitnesses of trash and recyling being dumped by sanitation crews into the same trash truck. In fairness to DPW, it should be added that a DPW official will promptly respond on the listserv to promise to look into the complaint and follow-up appropriately, if warranted.

Perhaps DPW could spare a few of those quick-to-ticket trash inspectors from Ward 2 and have them police Ward 3 for a while, and ask its diligent listserv-reading ombudsman to resolve some of the alleged violations handed out so freely in Ward 2.

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