By Andrea Cordle
The city of Columbus is reaching out to the public with the question, “Do you know this dumper?”
On May 6, the Columbus Department of Neighborhoods hosted a virtual Westside neighborhood update, where Adam Gray with the division of refuse announced the new program to curb illegal dumping.
According to Gray, the ‘do you know this dumper’ campaign started this month and it shares images of those caught littering on the social media pages for the department of public services. The hope is that the public can help identify the offender.
“We want to make sure we are holding these people accountable,” said Gray.
Gray said he recognizes that illegal dumping is a big problem on the westside, particularly in the Hilltop.
“This is our second full year of aggressively attacking illegal dumping,” said Gray.
One way the city is tackling the problem is through its trash collection employees.
“Our route drivers and route supervisors are always on the lookout for something amiss,” said Gray.
He said if the drivers see illegal dumping, they do report it to the city and several tips from drivers have resulted in investigations.
Another method to address the issue is the city’s plan to replace the 300-gallon trash containers with 90-gallon containers.
According to Gray, some areas on the westside have already made the switch. Others will see the switch in June or August. The city will notify residents in advance via letters with details about the date and placement areas.
The city of Columbus has placed numerous cameras in alleyways throughout the area to catch criminal activity, including illegal dumping, however some say the cameras do not work well.
“There would have to be thousands of cameras placed, hundreds of investigators and dozens of courts to prosecute all the folks who are dumping,” said Lisa Boggs, with the South Central Hilltop Block Watch.
Boggs has been a Hilltop advocate for many years and sees illegal dumping as one of the biggest issues on the westside. She said there needs to be an overhaul of how trash is picked up.
“They should assign roving trash trucks to small areas and hold that refuse worker responsible for keeping that area clean,” said Boggs.
According to Gray, the division of refuse works closely with the city attorney’s office to identify and prosecute those caught dumping. But he said he needs help from the public.
“We need you to be our eyes,” said Gray.
Gray asked westside residents to report illegal dumping to the city’s 311 service center at https://311.columbus.gov.
Each year, Boggs helps to organize the South Central Hilltop Cleanup. This year is the 19th year for the event. It was scheduled for May 2, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event was postponed until a later date. Boggs does encourage citizens to take initiative and pick up trash on their own.