BY TRONE DOWD
At a town hall on Monday in Jamaica, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would address one of the biggest issues facing Southeast Queens for decades—illegal dumping.
For years, the streets of Southeast Queens have been littered with garbage and waste left behind by drivers. The dumping has long perturbed residents, who often find trash on their private property, reducing the quality of life in the area. While the city has relied on tickets to curb the issue, it has done little to crack down on those committing the crime repeatedly, residents have said.
“We will double the number of sanitation officers here in Southeast Queens,” the mayor said to loud applause. “We need to do a better job and put more personnel on it.”
The mayor said that the longstanding issue was brought to his attention by Community Board 12 and its former chairwoman and City Council hopeful, Adrienne Adams.
“She pushed this and brought it to our attention, leading the way,” de Blasio said.
During the Democratic primary for the District 28 council seat, Adams told the PRESS of Southeast Queens that illegal dumping was one of the main issues on which she was running.
“Sanitation is at the top of the list,” Adams said. “We have an epidemic of illegal dumping in Southeast Queens.
Especially after speaking with leadership in sanitation, I fully intend to back any resources that sanitation needs. We need to see more workers, seven-day pick-up, which we’ve been asking for on the board for year. These things haven’t been possible because of the lack of resources.”
In addition to better enforcement of the law, the mayor announced that he would support the City Council’s initiative to be tougher on first-time offenders of illegal dumping. The fine, which is currently $1,200, would be raised to $5,000.
“The fine will go higher if they are repeat offenders,” he said. “We want to say to the illegal dumpers that we mean business and that there will be consequences.”