YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – City leaders in Youngstown are facing a growing problem that is getting more difficult to tackle – trash dumping.
A viewer sent WKBN 27 First News an image of trash strewn across Vittoria Avenue in Youngstown. It’s a problem in other parts of the city, too. Remote areas are being used as a dumping ground for everything from kitchen waste to home remodeling debris.
Charles Morgan lives just a couple blocks from the corner of Wardle and Vittoria avenues on Youngstown’s east side. He drives by the mess every day.
“This is my home, and I don’t like seeing my home like this. I was born here, and I don’t like it like this,” Morgan said.
Doors, carpeting, paint and dry wall litter the street. The Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office handles environmental crimes, but fighting the problem can be difficult. Major Jeff Allen said there is a grant to pay for just one deputy’s salary, but the problem is much bigger than one person can handle.
“It is very difficult to catch people dumping in areas that are remote and there are not a lot of houses. Streets that are vacant is where they go dump. He has to be there to catch them,” Allen said.
Youngstown Councilwoman Annie Gillam said trash dumping is not a new problem. At one point, the city purchased surveillance cameras hoping to catch dumpers in the act. But officials admit they don’t have enough of them to watch everything. Jennifer Jones with Youngtown Litter Control agrees saying the cameras help, but the problem is one that moves around and cameras can’t see it all.
But even if dumpers are caught, the potential penalties are not very severe. Jones says that dumpers may get caught once and have to pay a $100 fine and clean up the mess, but they are getting away with the 20 to 30 other times they dumped and didn’t get caught.
The problem is so prevalent that Youngstown Mayor John McNally is considering an idea that’s already been tried on a portion of Loveless Avenue on the south side where they completely blocked off the street. He is also considering grinding up the asphalt and creating a green space.That approach could be used in other parts of the city.