Dumped trash creates neighborhood eyesore

February 13, 2008 5:53:43 PM PST
Residents in the Third Ward say someone is using their neighborhood as a dumping ground, and they want it to stop. The next time a city street floods remember that in culverts clogged with trash, water that should drain in minutes takes days. In the Third Ward and other areas of Houston, people litter drains with everything from plastic bottles to shopping carts.

"This is all over the Third Ward community," said concerned citizen Rev. Devon Young.

It's a pervasive problem with illegal dump sites in Houston.

Land owner Clarence Johnson said, "It's frustrating because, you know, it's an on-going thing here."

Johnson is trying to clear his land. He cleaned up nearly the entire tract. But then overnight someone dumped dozens of tires that were on a neighboring lot onto his.

He said, "It's another situation that causes me now to have to call the city, file a complaint and see if they're going to get it removed."

Johnson is just one of many frustrated by the situation. Terrence Fontaine from the mayor's office has spent countless hours addressing the problem.

"They clean the neighborhoods up, and unfortunately, 60 days later, 90 days later, it's back in bad shape again," Johnson told Eyewitness News.

Despite the efforts of the mayor's office, some like Rev. Young don't think the city is doing enough.

He said, "To be frank, you don't see this problem over off of Highway 59 and Buffalo Speedway and Edloe. You don't see this problem in Bill White's neighborhood."

However, White's administration has spent tens of thousands of dollars in the Third Ward area alone to clean up dump sites.

"The city just doesn't have the kind of manpower we need to keep up with all of the dumping inside the neighborhoods," Fontaine explained.

Which is why some city leaders believe everyone must do a better job cleaning up their own communities. It's a solution land owners like Johnson know is much easier said than done.

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