The city of Dallas has been a hub for new visitors and residents due to its thriving economy and inviting atmosphere. However, this has led to an unexpected problem – an increase in litter in areas of the city that have been overlooked.
To address this issue, Dallas has launched a new program called the Litter Removal Team, created by Code Compliance Services. The LRT is comprised of 18 individuals split into teams. The team’s sole focus is to pick up trash along service roads, dumping sites, and other key areas in every district in Dallas.
Kate Lawler, a manager in the Nuisance Abatement Division for the city of Dallas, expressed her concern regarding the litter issue in Dallas. She stated that the trash found mostly exists along gutters, street corners, and service roads on freeways. The LRT is a proactive means to tackle these issues more efficiently.
The pilot program of the LRT commenced in January and is yielding significant results. The crew has picked up 331 tons or 700,000 pounds of litter between January 23 and March 31 alone. The increase in litter is due in part to the rise in population in Dallas. Code enforcement has noticed an increase in littering and dumping over the past few years.
While the crew has come across a variety of litter from illegal dumping and the homeless community, it has managed to cope with the issue. They typically drop off trash bags in areas well-known for garbage accumulation, and the homeless community picks up the trash, helping to keep the area relatively cleaner.
Despite the inherent difficulties encountered by the LRT, the team continues to persevere. “I feel somewhat disappointed because I can tell some of the stuff is dumped,” said Jimmie Roberts, a crew leader for LRT. Throughout their efforts, the team has encountered unusual things such as antique items and occasionally cash or counterfeit bills. As of March 20, the LRT has had an operating cost of $40,000, which has been covered by Dallas’ code compliance.
The pilot program ends on June 1, and it’s up to the Dallas City Council to decide whether the Litter Removal Team becomes a permanent thing. Lawler is hopeful that the results of the program will be sufficient to guarantee its continuation.
Dallas’ Code Compliance is hosting a community “Trash Off” event this Saturday to help fight illegal dumping. Residents can drop off bulk trash like furniture and other items, tires, hazardous waste like batteries, oils, paint, aerosols, etc. to be discarded for free. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at William Blair Park on Rochester Street in Dallas.
Dallas is taking initiatives to become cleaner and greener, with the LRT being one of these initiatives, and the program has already shown success in improving the city’s overall cleanliness.