ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones has made cleaning up St. Louis a priority, but in certain spots, the city’s garbage crisis is worse than ever.
It’s gotten so bad that a neighborhood south of O’Fallon Park is seeing makeshift landfills that homeowners say have been festering for months.
Ann Wright said she was glad to see a city trash truck emptying overfilled dumpsters in the Holly Avenue alleys Tuesday after she filed a complaint Monday night.
That hardly took care of the problem. The amount of trash that remains on the ground near the dumpsters is staggering and disgusting.
A few blocks over in the alley behind Red Bud Avenue, food garbage, old mattresses, furniture, and clothing stretched out on the ground behind multiple homes. Tor Cox owns a property there. He said the scheduled monthly bulk waste pickup had not happened for months.
“It’s been the same every three months, and it hasn’t changed,” Cox said. “I was actually coming to take pictures of it, to give it to the city.”
“We want the alley cleaned. We want the whole thing cleaned,” Wright said. “We want it to look like your place, like you’d like to live there.”
She owned a home on Holly Avenue, where her son and his wife are raising their two children. Wright said it was time that city leaders showed the same kind of commitment to neighborhoods as residents and homeowners did.
Last May, the city announced a new data-driven trash plan amid a shortage of truck drivers, with all neighborhoods getting at least one trash pickup every week and those with heavier trash loads getting more.
That hasn’t happened. The plan included hundreds of surveillance cameras to crack down on illegal dumpers, paid for by American Rescue Plan COVID relief dollars. The city reported more than 800 illegal dumping charges issued last year, nearly twice as many as two years ago.
Still, the mess persists.
“We know somebody’s illegal dumping. We’re supposed to have cameras out here, but I don’t know if they put them in yet or not,” said Willie Wright, Ann’s husband.
“If they have money under the American Rescue fund, use some of that to clean this,” Ann said. “It’s a health hazard, and it’s depressing to come home and see things like this.”
There was no word from Alderwoman Laura Keys, who represents the neighborhood, or the mayor’s office on when a cleanup might come.