BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As city residents gripe over the trash piling up on their curbside due to pickup delays during the pandemic, Mayor Jack Young said he understands their frustration- he’s frustrated too.
“I hate trash. We had closed all of those service requests, clean alleys and all of that. Alleys are more filthy now than they were, so there’s no reason for people to illegally dump when they can take it to our transfer stations,” he said.
The mayor said while he is frustrated, he understands why the city is where it’s at in its trash collection issues.
“My trash don’t always get picked up on time either. You know, it’s the next day, or sometime two days later,” he added.
DPW said they have several cases of COVID-19, and for the curbside collection program, they require 230 employees daily. They had 176 employees report on Wednesday.
Thirty-six of 114 Public ROW staff reported in. There are 12 Bureau of Solid Waste employees home in isolation and 12 employees in quarantine with confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday.
Of the 12 home in quarantine, 11 are from Routine Services, and of the 12 home in isolation, 11 are from Routine Services.
The BSW has 47 employees out on sick leave Wednesday and nine on permission leave.
“We got to look at the resources we have, and then we have to figure out how to best utilize those resources to manage operations,” he said.
A DPW official said the strategy right now is trash is a priority and then what’s left they do the makeup recycling routes.
Saturdays and Mondays are the makeup days for any recycling that they miss throughout the week.
“There is some light at the end of the tunnel, but not a fix,” he said, referencing some private contractors that could bring some relief in September and October.
He added solid waste department workers were in the Highlandtown area on Tuesday, picking up trash and recycling, starting at 6 a.m. and finishing up at around 12:45 a.m. that night- expected to go back to work the next morning as early as 5 a.m.
“So we’re working as hard as we can with the resources we have to make the city a cleaner place again,” he said.
He also reminded the public that the private sector is not immune to COVID-19.
The department is updating its routes and where it will prioritize pickup throughout the city each day.