Litter due to many factors - problem is fixable

By Craig Richards,

PETERSBURG - Welcome to South Philly. Hold that thought, its just Petersburg. A stroll through Old Towne last week may have brought concern to an occasional passer-by. But it breeds a far more prevalent concern to area residents and businesses.

Animal feces among other choice elements of trach were blowing down an alleyway leading to Bank street Tuesday morning. The source of the  caravan of crap (literally speaking) was an apartment complex dumpster. No one purposely littered the street - but individuals ultimately caused the issue. 

The small dumpster served a multi-unit building. The amount of trash developed overwhelmed the dumpster capacity. Normally this cause little more than an objectionable view of bags heaping over the top of the container. Unfortunately when the undersized dumpster is combined with residents unwilling to bag their trash and a strong wind the results are quite unsightly. 


While the trash company emptied the container shortly later, the damage had been done. The un-bagged trash had already  began its wind aided journey through the streets of Old Towne. Trash companies are not staffed nor should they be expected to collect trash strung down the streets due to consumer irresponsibility. 

A further look around Old Towne found several more issues of concern and a possibly safety issue of a good deed subject to dire consequences. Carboard boxes, two gallons milk and food were setting out in front of Bethel International Church of Christ on the sidewalk. Also in front of the church was a table with bread, fruit, cakes, vegetables, cookies, other food, tracts, a Bible and clothing. They were neatly organized and apparently left for those in need.


The food and milk had been on display and unattended for several days. A Petersburg Health Department official stopped at the location on Thursday April 1, but found no one available. While the trash setting on the sidewalk had been picked up, the table and its contents remained. Shortly before the trash pick up one gallon of milk had disappeared - apparently picked up by a passer by.. 


An additional attempt to call the number listed online failed. The number is out of service. Food and especially milk left out in the open can become contaminated and cause illness to anyone digesting the products. Since there are no barriers preventing homeless or other individuals from taking the items, the likelihood on food contamination is a plausible possibility. 

In addition to this and the wind blown trash, overflowing containers could be seen through out the Old Towne area. In some cases several trash bins were full with additional trash stacked beside them.  Some recyclable green containers contained cardboard mixed with un-bagged trash at business locations.


Poor trash management by individuals or businesses can result in fines leveed by the code and compliance department of the city. Trash blowing out of a dumpster is considered litter by the city and is subject to fines. But Mayor Parham said that the departments first attempt is to get individuals to resolve the issue and maintain trash in a manner not to create litter. 

Citizens dealing with repeated issues resulting in litter are encouraged to call the Department of Neighborhood Services at 804-733-2410.

Trash 5.jpg

Over flowing dumpsters during COVID reduced trash volumes could be bigger problem after pandemic 

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Unattended or managed table by Church could pose bigger health issues.

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Milk set by trash but still accessible to homeless/needy

Un-bagged trash thrown in with recyclables poses potential litter possibilities