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What Can Be Done About Gloucester City's Trash Problem?

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Gloucester City recently erected new swings at the Martins Lake Playground and the Lane Avenue Playground. Days after the project was finished at Martins Lake some inconsiderate slobs felt it was okay to throw their discarded orange peels and water bottles on the newly constructed site. Just a few feet from the new swings was a trash receptacle.


By William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNewsnet


GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (June 20, 2022)--For whatever reason, there are sections of Gloucester City that are being used as dumping grounds by people who have no respect for the environment or the community that you and I live in. They litter the main streets of the City with their trash and or drop it in the fields across from the Cold Springs School Campus. They use our vacant industrial sites along Water Street and Charles Street as a dumping ground for bulk trash. City playgrounds are also a favorite target, even though trash cans are visible in most of those parks.


The offenders are not only from out-of-town; many of them are residents. 

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The fields across from the Cold Springs School Campus have been used as an illegal dump site for years. The trash in this photo was discovered in early May 2022. Discarded mail in one of the bags revealed the trash was dumped by a person with a Philadelphia address. In an effort to get it removed the Gloucester City Police along with the mayor and council were notified about it. Unfortunately our effort was in vain as the trash is still there. Mother Nature has covered some of the unsightly mess with weeds.


Last month a person living in Philadelphia dumped bags and bags (above) of discarded construction material, old furniture, and other waste across from the Cold Springs Schools. We sent emails containing photos of the waste to the mayor and council. We notified the police, and an officer told us that he would talk with the Public Works Department about having it removed. As of today, the trash is still there.


Two or three years ago, we started to notice that contractors and others were dumping building waste on Water Street and Charles Street. Once again we notified the mayor and council and department heads about the problem sending them photos of what we found. Nothing happened. This past Saturday we were walking on Water Street and noticed that the situation has gotten worst. More bulk debris had been dropped on Water Street this time closer to Charles Street. 

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This trash pile, located at the foot of Water Street near the former Gulf and Western/NJ Zinc vacant site was noticed a few months ago. In an effort to have the trash removed we emailed this photo to the Public Works Department, and Housing Office along with the mayor and council. Unfortunately, the debris is still there. 

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Saturday, June 18, 2022 we found this mess on Water Street, approximately 25 yards from the other trash pile near the former Gulf and Western/NJ Zince vacant property. We learned long ago that once an area is targeted as a dump the problem grows as more offenders add to the trash that is already there. The debris has to be removed as soon as it is noticed. 



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Trail cameras sell for less than $100 maybe they could be placed in the parks to help discourage the dumping. Or use video cameras. Click here

In our opinion, you need to instill in the people who live here community pride. Start by holding an annual "Fix Up, Clean Up"  campaign in each neighborhood and give prizes to the residents who live in the block that wins such a gift certificate to purchase something from a local business. Set up video cameras at playgrounds or trail cameras along with signs warning the public they will be fined if caught littering. Put the same type of video equipment in the areas that are frequently used for a dumping ground.  Place more trash cans along our main thoroughfares. The city receives money from the state for recycling, so use that money to help with the cost. Have a dedicated phone line and email address just for taking calls from the public to report discarded trash. 

That is our suggestion, what is yours? 

One thing is for certain until a more aggressive campaign is put into place by our “City Fathers” this problem will never go away. Mayor and council can pass new laws addressing this situation but unless they are enforced they are just wasting time and money. Likewise, the police department/housing office needs to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Such as the one that pertains to abandoned or unlicensed vehicles sitting on properties throughout the city.

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The old dilapidated trailer filled with junk along with an unlicensed, unregistered truck has been sitting on railroad property located between Cumberland and Monmouth Streets. We have sent photos of both the trailer and truck to the mayor and council along with the police and housing department. Despite our effort, nothing has been done to remove this junk. Unlicensed/unregistered vehicles depreciate the value of properties in the neighborhoods where they are located. In 1965 council adopted an ordinance title Chapter 88 Vehicles or other machinery abandoned or inoperable. Why the law is not enforced is a mystery. ( § 88-2 )

Recently CNBNews columnist Dorothy Philbin wrote about the effect trash is having on Gloucester City. The article was titled "How Many Broken Windows in Our City" 

That was one of the best courses I took in my long educational career and one thing that I took away from the course and stayed with me was "The Broken Window Theory."  Many times, I read on Gloucester City Facebook pages that this is not the city in which many of us grew up. I've lived here for 70 years, and I can attest that the Gloucester City of today is not the Gloucester City of years gone by.  The difference?  The Broken Window Theory. Read here


EDITOR'S NOTE: By pointing out these problems we are hoping to make our City a better place to live.  Please accept our assessments in the spirit they are given. 



Bill's Point of View: Litter Bugs A Real Problem in the area around Cold Springs School

PEYTON AND ME MEANDERING: Stops in Audubon, Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Gloucester City