Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Help Me Howard: Trash
A lot of things were destroyed during last years hurricanes. And all that junk had to be disposed of. But some folks are using people's back yard for a dump and that has those people calling Help Me Howard. Here's the night team's Patrick Fraser.
WSVN---The message has been sent out for decades from one generation to the next.
Maybe you have heard woodsy owl preaching, 'Give a hoot - Don't pollute!'
But some two legged pigs just don't care.
Anthony Martinez: "This was probably just dumped, dropped recently."
From tree limbs to tiles to old tires, from cans to carpets, the garbage is piling up along rural roads in South Florida.
Anthony Martinez: "As you can see acoustic ceiling, flashing from roofing, fencing materials, poles."
Anthony Martinez lives in South Dade and says sometimes the worthless dumpers are so lazy their trash blocks his driveway. Leaving him to pick it up.
Anthony Martinez: "Some of the neighbors here have no choice but to come in with their bulldozer and push it off to the side."
When it's on Anthony's property he has to clean it up or risk getting fined.
In the meantime, the people who dump it get off scott free.
Occasionally someone catches them in the act.
Anthony Martinez: "We take their tags, we report them to the police and we'll go ahead and report them to illegal dumping."
But for every person caught, many more get away with it. Too many people dumping not enough police officers to catch them.
Anthony Martinez: "They try their best to help us, but it's getting a little excessive. People are finding this area just to become a dump site."
In theory the county is supposed to come pick up the trash.
But the reality, Anthony says, weeds have grown over this pile that has been getting bigger and bigger for years.
Anthony Martinez: "Deep, deep, deep under these piles, it's just full of debris. If a fire starts, it's not just going to burn wood. There's tire in here everything."
Sickened by the site, afraid he's going to be buried under a mound of trash, Anthony called Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "Dumping trash is illegal. Not only is it disgusting, it's dangerous. But if you get caught, odds are you don't go to jail. You just get fined. The obvious solution, government should give it a higher priority, but then you have to divert resources away from other problems. And, do you want to do that?"
Miami Dade and Broward County say illegal dumping has skyrocketed since last years hurricanes.
Miami Dade County has three units specifically targeting illegal dumping.
In Broward County its handled predominately by routine patrols.
But in both places, it's hard to catch the dumpers in the act.
Howard says the solution sadly depends on the people causing the problem.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you don't want the trash in your house or your neighborhood, why would you think it's ok to dump it in someone else's neighborhood? There are landfills for trash in Dade and Broward. Take it there."
Anthony says he hopes everyone gets the message, cause he is tired of picking up after pigs.
Anthony Martinez: "Instead of taking it to the dump, they're finding it very easy to come here, go on the off roads where we're having the greater problems and just letting go of everything."
Patrick Fraser: "Now, there are places in Dade and Broward to dump trash legally. Go to wsvn.com and Help Me Howard for the county websites that list the landfills. We would put it here but it would take you a week to write down the long webpage... and you don't want to stare at me that long."
A problem grown to landfill size proportions on you? Don't let it trash your life, dump it on us. We get paid to clean up messes...and we like it.
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