American cities are struggling to deal with growing populations, rising costs, and increasing apathy in their struggle against litter. Taxpayers in many regions are concerned about how bad things have become. A recent online study reveals the ten worst cities for street trash in the United States.
1. Houston, TX
Houston’s trash problem stems from the city’s giant urban sprawl, while a lack of enforcement gives it a terrible rating. Thankfully, Houston authorities have organized the “One Clean Houston” campaign to combat illegal dumping and growing waste.
2. Newark, NJ
In 2022, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced a campaign to help combat Newark’s rising garbage dilemma. His plans include rolling out dumpsters and trailers on non-collection days to encourage residents to dispose of trash.
3. San Bernardino, CA
According to a 2023 report, San Bernardino residents are the unhappiest regarding the state of their city. Their cleanliness issues result from poor collection services, illegal dumping, and a transient population base. City officials have now offered San Bernardino citizens free collections of two bulky items through their ‘Keep San Bernardino Clean’ initiative.
4. Detroit, MI
Michigan’s largest city has been fighting a growing illegal dumping problem, and locals identified a North End neighborhood as a focal point for much of this. It is so bad in some streets that it looks like a dump site, with rats continuing to plague suburban areas, with abandoned homes blamed for the problem.
5. Jersey City, NJ
A local Jersey City newspaper found that from 2020 through 2022, data obtained from the Jersey City SeeClickFix app showed half of the residents’ complaints about city hygiene stemmed from littering and illegal dumping. Some residents report seeing thrash thrown from car windows. Jersey City’s only saving grace is that its rival, Newark, ranks worst in the state.
6. Bakersfield, CA
A symptom of Bakersfield’s ongoing war with trash is found in its local vegetation regeneration project, the Panorama Vista Preserve, where volunteers have planted thousands of native shrubs and trees to regenerate the land. Now, preserve volunteers are fighting illegal dumping in their parking lots, and recently, they removed three tons of furniture, junk, and clothing from their grounds. The city sits fifth overall in the messiness stakes.
7. San Antonio, TX
When the San Antonio River was drained recently, officials removed 50 tons of waste in six days. Reports from locals who are joining forces to help clean their neighborhoods report kayaking down the river and fishing out accumulated garbage originating in downtown areas. Thankfully, ‘Adopt-a-Spot’ initiatives and the city’s 20-year $384 million San Antonio River Improvement Project is underway.
8. Fresno, CA
According to local reports, the public litter issue on Fresno’s freeways is exacerbated by trash trucks and litterbugs. Trash pick-up crews report filling mountains of bags over an eight-hour shift, only for the trash to re-accumulate in hours. It’s not all bad news: a ‘Keep Bakersfield Beautiful’ campaign pays homeless people to collect trash, while the City’s Fresgo app reportedly responds to trash complaints within 24 hours.
9. Oklahoma City, Ok
Oklahoma City’s waste management practices have been in question lately. A group of residents complained of a trash mound outside their apartment complex, which grew in size (and stench) for two months. They resorted to going public with Oklahoma News 4, though it took weeks until officials addressed the issue.
10. Yonkers, NY
A while ago, Yonkers officials removed public garbage cans to thwart the rising street litter problem. This counter-intuitive idea came after street litter baskets became overwhelmed with larger refuse items, such as furniture and household detritus, which attracted rats.
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