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LA City Council Takes Steps To Combat Illegal Dumping

Trash including a wooden pallet, a small boat, and other debris is strewn on pavement.
Illegal dumping in public areas increased by 450% between 2016 and 2020, city officials say.
(Photo by wools via Flickr)
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The Los Angeles City Council passed two motions Wednesday to address illegal dumping on the streets and in vacant lots of trash and junk like appliances, furniture, tires and other waste.

Councilmembers Kevin de León and Paul Koretz were behind the combined effort, each authoring one of the two items.

One measure would add 61 staff positions to the Bureau of Sanitation. The other would bring together a group of city departments to come up with a plan to curb illegal dumping with deterrents like fines and cameras, including so-called “dummy cameras,” to scare off would-be dumpers.

“We live in a very trashy city,” de León, a candidate for mayor, said at Wednesday’s council meeting. “In terms of a large metropolitan city, we are the trashiest largest city in America.”

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The city controller’s office reported last year that illegal dumping of trash, debris and hazardous items in public areas increased 450% between 2016 and 2020.

De León, who introduced a plan for combating illegal dumping earlier this year, said he hopes there will eventually be “a profound behavioral change” when it comes to dumping trash around L.A.

"It's a systematic issue,” he said. "And it's a budgetary issue, and that's why we're doubling down to make sure all of our neighborhoods are clean."

KPCC associate producer Camila Thur de Koos contributed to this story.

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