by Kenny Sui-Fung Yim
Chinatown citizens and officials concerned about the growing Chinatown trash problems gathered to discuss the extent of the problem and solutions at the “Clean Up Chinatown” community forum on Feb. 9 at the Asian American Civic Association.
Despite education campaigns, cameras and public trashcans, piles of trash still remain a common sight. It has been difficult to enforce already existing laws.
Existing solutions include bilingual signs and city services to complain to. Supermarkets will be encouraged to sell 0.9 inch-thick black trash bags, which will not rip as easily when pecked at by birds.
The Business Investment District of Chinatown has hired two sweepers two days a week with seed money from Chinatown Main Street.
If you see illegal dumping, you can make requests to clean and make complaints to the city, which will issue violations and fines up to $1,000. You can call the mayor’s hotline at (617) 635-4500 or download the Citizens Connect app, which allows people to take pictures and send in complaints with the exact location. Unfortunately, it is hard to find the offenders.
John Meaney, director of environmental services for the city of Boston, said, “The aim is to find property owners, no matter how big or small — from restaurants, to beauty salons, and bakeries — to homeless and the mentally ill. We will find who is responsible. We are invested in this partnership with Chinatown.
AACA board president Mary Chin said the biggest need is for everyone to be “willing to spend time and energy to make the change.”