Illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, a lack of composting bins and trucks parking in residential areas continue to be issues in South Jamaica and South Ozone Park.
Aracelia Cook, vice president of the 149th Street South Ozone Park Civic Association, is fed up with illegal dumping.
“I have been riding my bike throughout Queens in our community, taking pictures and reporting to 311 about the dumping,” Cook said during the 113th Precinct Community Council’s May 16 meeting. “We were told we were supposed to get cameras and high beam lights in these problematic areas. When is that going to happen? ... What is Sanitation doing to address those situations about the cameras?”
Cook suspects the debris is commercial waste because it always looks the same.
She also took issue with her neighbors being fined by the city Department of Sanitation when there is alternate side of the road parking because of vehicles abandoned in front of their property.
“Isn’t Sanitation or whatever agency responsible for coming out when you see a vehicle there for seven days, for 30 days?” asked Cook. “Who takes care of that?”
One vehicle in her neighborhood has been parked at the same spot for three months, said the civic vice president.
Joe Ottomanelli, a DSNY outreach coordinator, said that surveillance video, a photo of a license plate of an illegal dumper or even mail in the trash would help members of the agency trace the evidence back to the culprit.
“We are working to mitigating that,” said Ottomanelli. “Anyone who observes it, if they are able to relay that to us or if there is a particular time when dumping happens, we can have enforcement in those areas to work towards addressing those situations.”
In regard to cameras, Ottomanelli said that the agency works with elected officials to get them and DSNY agents to work with city councilmembers to point out where the problem areas are, but for that to work it has to be a priority in their budget for the issue to be addressed.
The DSNY also has a derelict vehicle unit that will tag abandoned cars if there are no plates; however, if there are plates it is up to the local precinct to tag the vehicle.
“Those are vehicles that we are not in a position to remove off the streets,” said Ottomanelli. “If they slap fake plates on them, we are able to remove them.”
Aliana Soto, who recently moved back to the World’s Borough from Harlem, is offended that South Jamaica has no composting, while, she said, there are bins almost on every block in Manhattan.
“They say there is a test program, but there is no test program in Manhattan,” said Soto. “That program has been there for years. The fact that we are testing it here, it baffles me. Even as an individual I can’t get one in my own house.”
Soto also has a problem with trucks parked in residential areas.
“As a result of the trucks being there people dump,” said Soto. “People are leaving couches and furniture all on the streets. When the trucks move, there are all these large items sitting on the curb. How does sanitation address this issue?”
Ottomanelli said people who are interested in the composting program must go on the DSNY website to register for it. Although the agency is not looking at the numbers for interest in it at the moment, he added, when DSNY does have time to look at the registration numbers and if there were considerable interest in the districts without the program, it would likely introduce the initiative to those communities.
“I can’t give you a timeline,” Ottomanelli said. “If there is enough turnout, there is a consideration to implement it moving forward ... it’s based on the aggregate number.”
If there are areas being subjected to illegal dumping people must notify DSNY as to where it is, Ottomanelli said in regard to Soto’s second question.
“You have a pulse on the situation,” added Ottomanelli. “If there are chronic issues, we have enforcement for it.”