Garbage builds up on the streets in Melrose. (Photo provided by office of Rafael Salamanca Jr.)

In the section of Melrose where Roy Ben-Moshe lives, trash is piling up. He has taken to Twitter to report regular incidents of illegal dumping.

Photos of old TVs, broken window fans, busted doors and lots of cardboard boxes dumped near his home pour from Ben-Mosh’s Twitter account.  Some posts tagging District 17 City Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. apparently got read.

“People will dump refrigerators, stoves; there was a Coca-Cola dispenser for a while,” Ben-Moshe said by phone Wednesday. The La Central apartments on Bergen Avenue, currently in development, are a hot spot for illegal dumping, in particular, he said.

Salamanca took notice of Ben-Moshe’s tweets and on March 3 toured the neighborhood, specifically Bergen Avenue and Brook Avenue, with members from the city Department of Sanitation in tow.

District 17 City Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. meets with city Department of Sanitation members to address trash issues and illegal dumping in Melrose on March 3.
(photo provided by office of Rafael Salamanca Jr.)

They found large items like mattresses and broken furniture, Salamanca reported, noting the bigger garbage is likely coming from odd job groups that work in apartment cleaning and demolition.

“They’re supposed to take it to a transfer station, but they’ll get charged for that. So instead of paying for that, what they do is go to a corner where there are no cameras in the middle of the night, and they’ll just dump the garbage there,” Salamanca said in a phone interview.

The councilman said he would like to see the Department of Sanitation monitor the neighborhood more closely.

“They have enforcement officers who do stakeouts in the middle of the night,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of them. They only have seven of them city-wide. That’s not enough.”

Standard litter has increased, as well, Salamanca reported, and pointed to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s cutback on street cleaning as a factor.

In June 2020, de Blasio and the city Department of Transportation announced that alternate-side parking and street cleaning would only occur once a week on non-metered streets as opposed to twice. People don’t have to move their cars as much, but trash begins to pile up.

“I think it’s time for the mayor to reinstate alternate-side parking full time,” Salamanca said.

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