The Town of North Hempstead removed 50 garbage cans from Main Street in Port Washington last week in response to a request by the Port Washington Garbage District made in a letter sent in December.
The garbage district approved a resolution in December to stop emptying the cans and suggested they be removed to help combat the community’s litter problem, according to a letter from the district to the town.
In a letter sent to the town on Dec. 29, the district’s three commissioners said eliminating the garbage collection six times a week from the town-owned cans “will reduce tipping fees charged to the district.”
The district suggested the town remove the cans to force business owners along Main Street to stop throwing personal garbage in the them.
“Studies have been done through the country that prove this practice (removing receptacles with hopes of eliminating litter) successful,” the commissioners said in the letter.
The district was not contractually obligated to remove the garbage but did so out of courtesy to the town, the commissioners said.
When residents inquired about the missing cans, the district said in an email to residents that the town “allowed them to fall into disrepair making them unsightly and, in some cases, unusable.”
“The town accepted no responsibility for them,” the letter said. “The town has the workforce and owns garbage trucks. Our thought was that they would be able to empty them as often as needed and provide oversight of the mentioned problems and work directly with their own code enforcement.”
The commissioners said over the years they’ve seen people place garbage at the base of the can or leave it on top of the covers.
“Even on a slightly windy day, the garbage blows away, becomes litter and ultimately someone else’s responsibility,” the letter said. “Most litter situations remain unaddressed causing a poor, dirty appearance of Port Washington.”
The district said once the cans were removed, the town’s code enforcement “began to work aggressively to address hot spots on Main Street.”
“We have a litter problem in Port Washington and we’re trying to get a handle on it,” town Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio. “I am confidant whole thing will work out eventually. I’m optimistic that it will get worked out.”
The town tapped a notice to the front of stores on Main Street, saying “No person shall throw, deposit or distribute litter in or upon any street, sidewalk, vehicle or other public place within the town except in public receptacles or in authorized private receptacles for collection.”
The garbage district has provided the town with pictures and addresses of locations littering on Main Street, the commissioners said.
“The sidewalks and curb areas have been cleaner than they have been in a very long time,” the commissioners said. “Not perfect, but cleaner.”
Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington, a civic group, started a campaign “PW Gives a Litter Bit” aimed at reducing litter around town.
“Since Port is a waterfront community, we have the added responsibility to protect our environment by keeping debris from running off into the bay, negatively affecting our water quality, and harming our marine life,” Residents said in a statement.
The civic group also encouraged residents to attend the Port Washington Garbage District board meetings.