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Trash litters Larch and Tupelo in Columbia yet again

Despite frequent efforts to clean up spilled trash from the intersection of Larch Court and Tupelo Place in Columbia, the area is once again littered with garbage.

Sergeant Michael Hestir with the CPD Community Outreach Unit told ABC17 that the area is littered with bottles, baby diapers, and other assorted trash.

ABC17 News confirmed that the trash is still there.

The area has about 4 metal dumpsters for the waste. Columbia city ordinance maintains that it’s up to the discretion of the owner of apartments that exceed four units per structure whether they would use curbside service or dumpsters.

ABC17 News reporters confirmed the dumpsters are not overflowing and the trash is littered far away from the dumpsters at the end of the road.

Hestir volunteered a few months ago to help clear the area and he says he’s discouraged with how quickly the trash reappeared.

“When we left, it looked far better than that,” he said. “It was basically spotless.”

He said the littering requires a written warning and while it’s not impossible to enforce, it is difficult because the area is a melting pot of several different duplexes and houses, so the owners vary.

“A lot of the owners would say it’s not my tenants doing that, it’s people driving by,” he said.

Leigh Kottwitz with Neighborhood Services also said since the road is public property, it’s difficult to get owners or tenants to take responsibility for it.

“They have a responsibility to handle loose trash on their private property,” she said. “When it comes to the street, even if their tenants are creating it, it still falls to the city to come up with some kind of solution for that.”

Because the city and law enforcement are stretched thin they don’t have enough resources to have frequently someone watching for litterers.

When ABC17 News talked with residents who live there about the issue, several of them said they were discouraged and embarrassed of the trash.

One woman said she regularly used to pick up the trash but it quickly reappeared. So she said she gave up because she felt like no one else cared enough to keep it regularly clean.

She also said that the trash ends up there because either the wind blew garbage around, garbage falls out of the truck when the dumpster is emptied or people just throw it on the side of the road.

And other residents don’t feel like anyone wants to take responsibility for it.

Kottwitz said they do clean it up several times a year and rely on community volunteers to help.

“We are so lucky that the vast majority of our community is clean and tidy and people care about it. In a perfect world we would see that and instill that in all of our neighborhoods in Columbia,” she said. “This is a place that needs love and attention so we can get there.”

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