Residential trash dumping is a major source of street trash. This post examines Philly311 data for one south Philadelphia block to shown the chronic nature of residential trash dumping and to demonstrate how Philadelphia can use existing data resources to identify and tackle our trash problem.
S 19th & Hoffman Streets
The vacant lot on the NW corner of S 19th & Hoffman Streets has proven to be a chronic residential trash dumping site. Philly311 has recorded 53 Illegal Dumping Service Requests for this intersection since Dec., 2015, when the City started the current Philly311 system.
This Google StreetView from June, 2011 shows that this intersection is no stranger to illegal dumping. Notice the trash pile on the right side of the image from 6 years ago.
The following 12 photos are some of the photos submitted to Philly311 by Philadelphia residents between February 7 and April 5, 2017.
Click any photo to start slideshow:
These photos demonstrate that the Hoffman & S 19th Streets area has a longstanding, chronic residential trash dumping problem that has not been effectively addressed.
- Philly311 recorded and processed illegal dumping service requests for S 19th & Hoffman Streets 53 times
- Streets Department dispatched crews to remove residential trash dumping multiple times
- Neither Philly311 or Streets Department recognized the repetitive nature of the S 19th & Hoffman Streets residential trash dumping
- No assessment of the S 19th & Hoffman Streets trash problem was made
- No corrective action plan was developed
- No remedial action was undertaken
My Illegal Dumping Hot Spot Analysis (link) shows that Philadelphia has dozens of residential trash dumping sites like the S 19th & Hoffman Streets site.
Philadelphia has the data, both Philly311 service requests and Streets Department work requests to identify and address residential trash hot spots. Unfortunately, no one is using the existing data to identify and address the residential trash dumping issue. While it is important to clean up trash dump sites, we must add an identification and prevention strategy/capability if we hope to reduce future street trash.
The Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet will be rolling out a new Litter Index database that will help tackle the City’s trash problem. My take-home message is that we need more than data to solve our trash problems, we need management processes to use the data to understand the causes of our trash problems, identify and take corrective actions and measure progress.
We need to assess our current trash collection policies and procedures:
- Is City-wide once a week trash collection adequate?
- Are there some neighborhoods that require more frequent trash collection? The S 19th & Hoffman Streets example shows that some areas need more frequent trash pickup.
- Do we have adequate analytical capabilities in the Streets Department – Phill311 to identify chronic problem areas. The Police Department has an impressive Crime Stats capability that identifies problem areas and supports management efforts to adjust practices as needed. Philly311 and Streets Department need comparable capabilities.