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Queens Chronicle

A lot of trash talk at Woodhaven civic

Residents call on agency to punish those littering, not innocent people

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:30 am

A Sanitation Department official told the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association last Thursday that the agency would “love” to use camera footage in its enforcement of littering laws, but can’t because of the law.

“It does help our enforcement because usually its ritualized,” said Nicholas Circharo, community affairs liaison for the DSNY. “They do it every morning. We would love to use the footage.”

Right now, Sanitation enforcement agents must catch a litterer in the act to write him or her a summons and are not allowed to use video evidence against an illegal dumper.

Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) said earlier in the meeting that he’d be interested in writing a bill that would allow the agency to use surveillance equipment to keep streets clean.

Litter laws are a top issue for the WRBA, and it’s discussed at almost every one of the civic’s meetings. Circharo was asked to appear at the May one to answer a few questions from WRBA President Steve Forte and other residents.

Many complained that summonses are often written to homeowners and merchants for trash left behind by other people in front of their property — some businesses have been issued thousands of dollars in violations.

Asked why the DSNY is able to write those tickets to those people, despite not seeing them do it, Circharo was unable to give a definite answer.

“I didn’t write the law,” he said. “I don’t know why certain things need certain evidence.”

One resident, who lives near St. Thomas the Apostle RC Church, said she keeps getting tickets despite bringing the issue to the DSNY and her elected officials.

“I can sweep and three hours later I get a ticket because there’s that much garbage,” she said.

Because she lives near the church, the resident often sees litter left behind following Mass, funerals, weddings and more.

Additionally, she said, the trash piles up in the sewer gate near her home.

The state years ago banned the curbside pickup of electronics.

Staten Island has had a pilot pickup program for years and Mayor de Blasio last April announced that it would become permanent there and expand to other boroughs over the next three years.

Circharo said it would come to Queens West, which includes Woodhaven, in the fall.

Under the program, residents make appointments to have the DSNY pick up their electronics from the curb.

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