NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA - Trash, plus heat equals a recipe for disaster.
It’s an issue many people across Philadelphia are dealing with.
Trash pickup along 63rd and Greenway in Southwest Philadelphia is late in the week, but it’s Monday and the garbage, rotting in the sun and drawing flies, sits.
“When is trash day here?” asked FOX 29’s Jeff Cole.
“It’s Thursday!” exclaimed Sarah Freedman.
“Thursday’s trash day?” asked Cole.
“And, it’s Monday. Nobody came and that’s not right,” Freedman remarked.
Ripped trash bags line the sidewalk and litter clutters the street.
Willie Simon, struggling with asthma, says the trash is a banquet for varmints.
“Nasty. A lot of raccoons out here, lots of them out here, lots of them up and down the block. Raccoons and possums. They come at night,” Simon explained.
In some Northeast Philadelphia neighborhoods, it’s the same story, except on Monday, Carlotta Edwards’ trash was tossed into the truck by Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams handing cold water to his crew and explaining why the trash piles are building.
“The less resources that we have – we continue to fight the additional tonnage – the delays will continue to build. We’re seeing more calls and complaints about it,” Comissioner Williams said.
Williams argues residents, stuck at home in the pandemic, are producing 35,000 additional tons of trash weekly and he says COVID-19 has 100 to 125 of his workers off the job.
“Even if one person contracts COVID, anyone they come in contact with has to self-quarantine. Especially here in the Northeast, where half were out las week, all COVID related,” Williams added.
Williams says workers from other city departments have been pressed into service and trash was picked up over the weekend – at overtime rates – in an attempt to cut the backlog.
Carlotta Edwards is worried the piles of garbage are yet another threat to her health.
“We are thinking about infection. That’s infection control, right there. We need them to pick up the trash on time,” Edwards stated.
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