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Trash in Chinatown

By Connor Ferrara, Candice Murray, Patricia Kazelis

When it comes to trash management in Philadelphia, there's no disputing that Chinatown definitely lacks in sanitation; it's been that way for years. However, with the city's "UnLitter Us" campaign, and the recent implementation of Big Belly Solar Compactors, many are now wondering why Chinatown's litter problem has not been resolved.

There are several reasons as to why this may be, one of which being simply that there are very few Big Bellies actually placed in the Chinatown area. Consequently, there is nowhere for pedestrians to place their trash. During an interview with Donald Carlton, a Senior Waste Management Official, he stated that there were originally "approximately 13" units but that number was "reduced to 7" based on requests from local residents.

After inquiring about the reasoning behind this request, he went on to explain that property owners had been experiencing a problem with "short dumping", the act of illegally dropping trash on the street, in and around the area where the compactors were placed. Consequently, property owners are then placed into a dispute with the police over who's responsibility it is to keep the properties clean. These owners reason that if compactor units are not placed on their properties their chances of being given code violations are decreased.

But with the city's new "UnLitter Us" campaign, and the new implement of Big Belly Solar Compactors, many are wondering why chinatown's litter problem isn't being resolved.

One reason might be that there really aren't that many trash compactors in chinatown. Donald Carlton, the Operations Chief of Philadelphia's waste management, replied to the prompt of why there are not many trash compactors in Chinatown. He explained that there are seven still in the area, but originally there were thirteen. According to Carlton, property owners in Chinatown requested that the other six be removed from the area.

Victoria Chang, a local Community Leader in Chinatown, commented on that saying " I think some people like it... some will not like it in front of their property. It piles up." What she's referring to is short dumping. "Putting more Big Bellies didn't take away from the problem, because one of the issues that we are facing is short dumping." said Donald Carlton. Many members of the Chinatown community place their trash next to the Big Belly compactors in hopes of having the trash picked up; with the knowledge that the compactors get checked everyday. The problem with that is, short dumping is illegal, irresponsible, and hazardous to the community's health.