What is the city of Memphis doing about illegal dumping?

Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Illegal dumping is a major issue in Memphis.

“Mattresses, tires, old trash, it’s all over Memphis,” says Memphian Tonquanika Covington.

One illegal dump site can be found in front of A. Maceo Walker Middle School, where Covintgon’s two children attend school.

“It’s kind of uncomfortable because the kids have to be in the environment, going to school and then they think that it’s okay for them to do it as well just because they see that there’s trash right there,” said Covington.

In a statement, Memphis Shelby County Schools said, “The trash in question is not on MSCS property. The cleanliness of the community and environment are important to the District and families and we are committed to working with the city and county code enforcement departments to address any issues.”

City officials addressed illegal dumping in Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The city’s Public Works Division is tasked with tackling the issue. Director Robert Knecht says the city has over 100 covert cameras to catch those doing the dumping.

“A prime example of this is Washington Bottoms down by Wolf River. We spent three days and over $30,000 cleaning up that site, but because we had covert cameras in there we identified over 30 vehicles going in and out of there,” said Knecht.

Knecht also said the city is holding “dumpster days” in every district so residents can appropriately dispose of unwanted items.

Aside from this the city also has a program called Public Service Corps which offers part-time work for teens and ex-offenders to clean up trash, but they only have 20 people employed. The goal was 100.

Knecht says those doing the illegal dumping can face some serious charges.

“It varies depending on the amount, what actions we can take because it’s anywhere from a misdemeanor or even a felony,” said Knecht.

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