Richmond Resident Documents Illegal Trash Dumping; Says City Allows It To Happen – CBS San Francisco
RICHMOND (KPIX 5) – Some North Richmond residents say the city allows garbage to be dumped in their neighborhood and a man has embarked on a crusade to document the problem.
There are places in North Richmond where landfills are so common that residents no longer complain. For them it has become a symbol of how the city feels for them. Espinosa Matthews has lived in this neighborhood all his life, and the rubbish next to his bus stop means one thing to him.
“That they don’t care about this neighborhood and this neighborhood is a pile of junk,” said Matthews.
Garbage Transportation is a North Richmond home industry that has a landfill nearby. But not all of the rubbish ends up there. There are piles of rubbish along the streets and in vacant lots and most people have just come to accept it. But Tom Sumner isn’t one of them.
“I wanted you to see it here. That’s the big problem, ”said Samner as he took us on a drive through his neighborhood. He pointed to a large pile of household rubbish that had been dumped straight from the sidewalk on an vacant lot.
Sumner was so disgusted by what he saw that he bought a GoPro camera and is now documenting the piles of trash and regularly complaining to the town hall about it.
“I get cops in Richmond City who say they will not punish or quote anyone for not being able to afford it,” he said. “Why not start a program where you can come out and work off your fine by getting out of here and cleaning up a few things?”
He says one of the big problems is that the city is allowing garbage and recycling shippers to park their trucks in the residential area. This leads to litter on the sidewalks and eventually everyone sees the area as a convenient place to dump.
“I call her every night, almost every other day. I say, ‘That truck is still there, you can’t leave this truck there. It’s against the law, ”he said.
Ironically, Sumner is accused of causing epidemics himself. He has received warnings from the city to replace the cracked and peeling paint on his home and remove a shipping container from his back yard. But he believes it is just an attempt to discredit his efforts to clear the trash.
“It’s frustrating because I found that I have to start documenting, walking around town and taking photos and videos of everything I see because I see all of these poor conditions around me,” he said.
We weren’t able to reach anyone out of town to comment on Wednesday, but Sumner says his neighborhood could be an inconvenient place to do regular cleanup as it’s an urban island surrounded by land.
Sumner admits he was a bit intrusive with the city and says he wants to be kinder. But he says he won’t stop trying because he’s seen what happens when people give up.