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Cleveland sends out more clean-up crews to fight illegal dumping after complaints

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The city of Cleveland is taking action after councilmembers complained about continued illegal dumping in their neighborhoods.

The city said it’s sending crews out every day to tackle the job in some of the hardest hit areas.

Frustration has been mounting for residents and city councilmembers alike as their neighborhoods turned into dumping grounds.

“We can see huge amounts of debris that’s been thrown into vacant lots, that’s been thrown into public spaces,” Jones said.

Councilman Joe Jones represents Ward 1, including the neighborhoods of Lee-Harvard and Union-Miles.

“If the city is going to get serious about tackling this issue, we must make it a priority. And that priority is simply sending a statement to those who are illegally dumping in the city of Cleveland—'not in our community,’” Jones said.

The city announced the clean-up plans after councilmembers spoke out about the problem at a council meeting about two weeks ago.

During the meeting, officials announced $19,000 is headed to the city’s Environmental Crimes Task Force for training and equipment to fight illegal dumping.

19 Investigates found that task force is only made up of three people.

But now, they’re getting more help.

The city said 10 public works crews are working daily to remove debris, cleaning up vacant lots and abandoned structures in nine wards across the city, including Ward 1.

The city reported as of last week, crews removed debris from 1,780 locations and they have 143 pending complaints.

“So I think that is a good first step, but more is needed and it needs to be consistent,” Jones said. Jones wants to double the size of the task force to at least six people and set up more cameras to catch illegal dumping.

Right now the city has 18 cameras.

Jones is calling for much more funding, $500,000 for the program, to do that.

He said the city has the money, they just need to make it a priority.

“So we have to draw the line that says if you come into the city of Cleveland and you’re illegally dumping, there’s going to be retribution behind that,” Jones said.

Open dumping is a felony crime in Ohio.

You can face a fine of up to $25,000 and a jail sentence of two to four years.

If you witness illegal dumping and report it and then the suspect is convicted, you’re eligible to receive 50% of the fees the city collects.

You can report trash and illegal dumping to the city of Cleveland for removal by calling 216-664-DUMP or the Mayor’s Action Center at 216-644-2900.

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