Dealing with Trash

February 29, 2012
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After surveying trash put outs on trash day across East Boston, Eastie resident Chris Marchi has submitted his findings to city officials for review.

Marchi has been working with the city for the past decade on ways to analyze and solve litter and trash occurrences on the streets in the neighborhood.

For the past month, Marchi has been keeping a log of how people in the neighborhood put out trash in different sections and whether there was any correlation between how trash is put out (whether in un-approved bags or barrels) and the overall cleanliness of the streets in those areas.

“The biggest differences I saw throughout the neighborhood was in areas where a majority of residents put trash out in bags only,” said Marchi. “Areas with less bag only put outs had lower spill risks and less litter on the streets following trash collection.”

Marchi found that bag only put outs on trash day were far more popular in areas like Eagle Hill, Jeffries Point, the Mount Carmel Parish area and areas of Chelsea Street where there is a higher concentration of taller multifamily buildings and more restrictive trash storage areas.

“By comparing these areas to the less densely built environments, such as the Star of the Sea Parish and Orient Heights we can come up with some important findings,” said Marchi.

Marchi said with the risk of trash spills in areas where residents use mostly bags to put out rubbish on trash day eight times higher he’s encouraging city officials to find ways to discourage bag only put outs.

“Discouraging bag only put outs would improve cleanliness,” said Marchi.

Marchi’s study has concluded that bag only trash put outs in un-approved bags (like plastic shopping bags or one-plied kitchen trash bags) needs to be stopped.

“Un-approved bag put outs were seen to produce a higher

rate of spill risk across all areas regardless of the density of the built environment,” said Marchi. “Education and enforcement should aim to eliminate these put outs.”

Marchi suggestions to the city include creating a professional quality effective, research driven anti-littering education campaign; implement an aggressive and sustained police enforcement initiative to reduce littering; create an effective public engagement campaign on trash put out regulations and cleanliness; implement a targeted and managed trash put out regulation enforcement campaign; and investigate changes in trash collection policies, ordinances and regulations.

“We have that sort of opportunity right in front of us, with the trash put out situation,” said Marchi.  “We should consider the information we have, figure out what we would like to see done, then ask for help doing it.  If we can convince city officials that what we suggest will actually help solve the problem with cleanliness, I think they’ll help.”

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