Is San Jose Winning Its War On Illegal Dumping?
Two years ago, the city of San Jose got serious about the problem of illegal dumping by offering free trash pickups, easing the complaint process and imposing stiff fines on violators.
The result: 2,443 mattresses, 2,250 tons of debris, 1,900 shopping carts and more than 500 gallons of human waste.
And yet the streets are still dirty.
Tenley Corpus lives near San Jose’s Martial Cottle Park and loves walking its trails. Lately, though, her walks have been spoiled by an eyesore just across the street: a giant pile of garbage on Chynoweth Avenue. Nearby Hellyer Park and Branham Lane also are dotted with garbage piles and yard waste.
“I honestly can’t stand it,” Corpus said. “I’ve lived here over 40 years, and we never had a problem like this before. It just seems to be getting worse.”
Illegal dumping is a daunting problem across San Jose. Driving through the city, it’s not unusual to see teetering piles of furniture, mattresses and construction debris along the roadsides.
The impromptu garbage dumps block roads, create habitat for cockroaches and bedbugs, contaminate the groundwater, lower real estate values and hurt tourism.
But trash doesn’t pile up evenly across the city, research shows. Rates of illegal dumping are higher in low-income areas with large minority populations, according to a San Jose State University study. More dumping also occurs in areas with more renters, non-English speakers and people per household, the study found.
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