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Tampa leaders to discuss cleaning up litter councilman says is "all over the place"

Tampa City Council will discuss solutions to the issue in a 9 a.m. meeting
Posted at 7:33 AM, Oct 28, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — As he drives down Tampa roads and through some of the city’s neighborhoods, Smokey Goodson doesn’t have to look hard to spot litter along sidewalks, in alleyways, and in vacant lots.

It’s to the point, he can’t even estimate how much he sees.

“Roughly, a lot,” Goodson said. “A lot.”

He’s not alone. Councilman Orlando Gudes, the chairman of Tampa City Council, has noticed the problem too, especially in parts of his district, which includes East Tampa.

“People see the trash all over the place,” he said.

It’s why Gudes has tasked the city’s Department of Solid Waste to get a handle on the problem. Gudes believes a lot of the garbage is coming from a couple key places: apartment complexes and businesses.

“I think some people are getting over on the city by ordering these small dumpster cans, and their business is much bigger, or the apartment complex is much bigger, and it can’t hold the amount of trash that can be put into the can,” he said. “We need to address it, because it becomes a serious, serious eyesore.”

In a Thursday morning workshop, he and other council members plan to get an update for the Department of Solid Waste on potential solutions.

In a report the department will present to council members Thursday, Interim Director Larry Washington assures them that the solid waste department is already in the process of identifying problematic businesses and either giving them extra dumpsters or additional pick-up times.

“Adjustments will be made as needed to ensure adequate trash capacity,” Washington writes.

Gudes, however, says there’s another problem solid waste needs to address. Some narrow city alleyways, which are sometimes littered with garbage, are oftentimes inaccessible to city solid waste crews because their garbage trucks are blocked by parked cars.

“To me, it’s gotta stop, and we’ve gotta be the ones to stop it,” Gudes said. “If we need to enact some things, let’s do it.”

According to Washington’s report, the solid waste department is studying the issue in an ongoing Parking Pilot Project and might, in the future, consider “No Parking from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.” signs for some of the problematic alleyways.

“Upon the completion of the Parking Pilot Project, a set of recommended solutions will be implemented,” Washington writes. “These improvements, coupled with continuing community outreach and education, will mitigate the existing conditions.”