NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Trash has a way of piling up around New York City during the summer, and the Department of Sanitation blames it on illegal dumpers and people just doing it wrong.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the city is taking action.

“It’s terrible,” said Carol Ali of Mariners Harbor, Staten Island. “It’s really terrible.”

Ali, a homeowner, strives for a quiet life on her tiny dead-end street.

But illegal dumpers keep bringing chaos with the construction, landscaping, electronic and household waste they toss into the woods right near her home where she can see it.

Normally, it happens in the dead of night. But last week, it happened right around lunchtime.

“They were going to dump wood and stuff there, and I says, ‘Excuse me, what are you doing?’”

Ali scared the would-be dumpers off.

But during the same week in the same neighborhood, Department of Sanitation officers caught three people in a van who tossed wood, carpeting and electronics onto the side of Forest Avenue.

The vehicle was impounded, and its owner faces fines ranging from $1,500 to $2,000.

“We have to catch them in the act,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.

Garcia said because the city’s construction industry is booming, dumping is getting worse — so the city is cracking down.

The Department of Sanitation identified the biggest problem areas in Queens, in the Bronx and on Staten Island. The response is to add security cameras and increase enforcement officers.

“We want to use the maximum hammer for people who are attempting to do this,” Garcia said.

But the culprits can’t always be caught in the act, Ali emphasized.

“We took care of that,” Ali said. “But there are some times we’re not here to see it.”

So the city is also giving neighbors like Ali a financial incentive to keep an even closer watch.

Calls to 311 that result in arrests and fines, are rewarded by giving tipsters 50 percent of the amounts illegal dumpers are forced to pay.

Right now, the Department of Sanitation does not pick up electronics. They must be taken to dropoff centers. But that all changes in the fall when the city starts rolling out curbside electronics collection.


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