TORRANCE, Calif. -- A blue car bumper, cut branches, and large children’s toys line an alleyway in Torrance. It’s an eyesore that nearby resident Bob Silagy said he’s been trying to keep out of his neighborhood for the last 10 years.
“A lot of times you can’t even turn around this corner, there’ll be so many trash boxes and debris piled up around the trash can,” Silagy said as he walked through the alley.
Silagy is known in his neighborhood as the "alley cop." He said he calls the city’s illegal trash dumping program when he sees large items from renters on the ground. He said he’s making the call about once a month.
“There’s no reason why that trash can’t be picked up and be put into the big black dumpster. You know if people would just take the time to do it. It wouldn’t be an eyesore,” Silagy said.
The alley near Silagy’s home is one of many illegal trash dumping hotspots throughout Torrance. In an effort to remove trash from the city’s public spaces, the city created an $80,000 pilot program that is currently contracted with Electonic Waste Solutions.
The program allows residents to report large amounts of trash in need of being removed. According to Torrance City Councilman Aurelio Mattucci, the service cleared about 18 tons of trash in a single year.
“We need to discourage illegal dumping, but having said that, we do have to put programs in place to where renters, because I think most of the trash is coming from renters, to make it easier for them to move and not have to dump stuff in an alley,” said Councilman Mattucci.
The program has been a success so far. But now the city needs to find a way to afford the service to make it permanent. Councilman Mattucci said one way to generate the funds would be to add a $15 fee for each rental unit a landlord owns to help offset the city’s cost.
Another option would be a city tax that residents would have to vote on. Either way, Silagy hopes the city keeps the program because without it, he’s worried about what will happen to his neighborhood.
“If the alleys start collecting a lot of debris and trash then the neighborhood gets depreciated. Then, if the alley goes, then the neighborhood goes,” Silagy said.
The program will continue to provide trash pickup services until June. But Silagy is hoping the city will find a financial solution for this service before the contract expires.
To report illegally dumped trash in the city of Torrance, call: 1-855-685-2767