BALTIMORE — Council President Brandon Scott is calling on the city to do more following the suspension of recycling pickup.
Scott sent a letter to Acting Department of Public Works Director Matthew Garbark expressing frustration at the ongoing challenges associated with regular trash and recycling pickup and calling on DPW to take steps to better serve residents.
In the letter, the Council President calls for the Department to better prioritize 311 requests for missed trash collection, put additional recycling drop-off sites in each Council district, extend hours at the City’s three citizen drop-off centers, and be more proactive about communication between DPW and neighborhoods.
“For some of our neighborhoods, this announcement comes on top of weeks of disruptions to residential trash and recycling pick up. While COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for our city, it is unacceptable for us to be at this point and more must be done to ensure seniors, people with disabilities, and people without personal vehicles can access basic city services,” writes Scott. “I am frustrated that Baltimore continues to struggle with regular trash pickup, a problem that predates this pandemic. Even as we navigate challenging and unprecedented circumstances, the City has to find a way to complete its most basic responsibilities on behalf of our constituents.”
Scott continues by saying: “For my part, I will be out there to help alongside our solid waste workers and will be mobilizing my office to support in that effort until regular services can resume. In these challenging times, we must pull together as a community and be willing to think outside of the box.”
The letter, which commends the hard work of DPW solid waste workers during this pandemic, also asks the Department to explain the alternatives that were considered prior to the temporary suspension in pickup recycling services and whether employees of the Department have the personal protective equipment needed to do their jobs safely.
“This is not to diminish the labor of the hardworking women and men of DPW, who have contended with coronavirus outbreaks, extreme heat, and an increased load. With the tragic passing of a DPW solid waste worker on the job last week, we must do everything we can to support our frontline workers and keep them safe. I thank our solid waste workers who have continued to show up for their dedicated service,” wrote Scott.
On September 15 at 2:30PM, per Scott’s request, the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing with the administration and DPW to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on basic trash and recycling services.