NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is tackling trash with a new effort to get rid of piles of garbage. In some neighborhoods, the pandemic has made things worse.

Rev. Patrick Young can’t get rid of his trashy situation. For too many years, his church has been a chronic dumping ground.

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“Now this right here is ridiculous. This is a door from someone’s car dropped here,” Young told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

The Department of Sanitation says the pandemic exacerbated illegal dumping across the city as families moving away threw out their furniture, electronics and belongings.

In neighborhoods like East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Corona, the piles of trash became such eyesores that Councilmember Francisco Moya is now announcing a series of new initiatives to crack down.

“Now we can have dedicated trucks in our district for litter basket service. We have increased the number of service hours,” he said.

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The $470,000 in funding the councilmember secured from the city to tackle sanitation issues this year is double the amount his district received the previous year. The money will pay for a new enforcement patrol as well as 10 surveillance cameras.

“There is someone always watching, and we can do some reactive enforcement as well as having monitors to try to do proactive enforcement in the hotspots where we know that there’s a chronic problem,” Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said.

At First Baptist Church, where one of the new cameras is expected to be mounted, Rev. Young is delighted.

“Anything is better than where we are. It’s always going to make a difference. Where we are, we are struggling,” he said.

The penalties for dumping are steep. Depending on what you toss, you could face fines of thousands of dollars in addition to the impounding of your vehicle.

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The Department of Sanitation says they’ve received more than 1,300 requests for surveillance in areas where illegal dumping is suspected.

Christina Fan