I had the pleasure of accepting an invitation to an important community press conference Oct. 24 on illegal dumping in South Los Angeles.
It came from Errol H. Segal, a longtime South L.A. business owner and respected community leader who serves as the senior recycling consultant at Active Recycling Co. Inc., which is located off Slauson Avenue near Western Avenue in the heart of South L.A.
I immediately accepted the invite because this is an important quality of life issue for me. I’ve complained frequently over the last 25 years that parts of South L.A. look like a dumping ground, so I was grateful to hear a business owner was addressing an important environmental community concern.
I arrived early and spoke with Segal, asking him why he was doing this? And his response, word for word, was this: “Illegal dumping of trash around South Central and other parts of the city is out of control. I reside in Encino, in a very nice neighborhood. About three years ago, I left my house for work. A block and a half from my house I noticed a couch, dresser and a mattress at the curb.
“Being in the trash and recycling business for over 40 years, I knew that it was either illegal dumping or trash bulky item pick up day. The city of Los Angeles will pick up your bulky item free of charge once a month. It’s supposed to be picked up in three days or maybe a week or so,” Segal continued.
“As I drove down Slauson, I started looking in alleys and saw lumber, trees, tires, furniture, rugs, rocks and more. I said to myself ‘that is illegal trash dumping.’ I knew I wanted to do something for the community but didn’t know what.
Segal said a week and a half later he read a newspaper article that said if you’re African American or Latino and you live in South Central and you call for bulky item pick up day, most of the time the city doesn’t pick it up, but if you live in a more affluent part of the city your bulky item of trash is gone in three days.
“The trash by my house was gone in three days,” Segal said. “After learning about how African American and Latinos are treated like third-class citizens, I started the clean-up Los Angeles campaign where people can bring in up to 500 pounds of trash and dump it for free.
I was immediately impressed by what I heard. Segal then went on to state that “Homelessness is a real challenge, but illegal trash dumping is another and it can be solved immediately once the word gets out that people can dump trash legally for free.”
Illegal trash dumping is a crime and out of control in the city and county of Los Angeles. In addition to the negative environmental impact, the spread of disease is now reaching a critical stage and threatening the health of our first responders and residents.
People need to know there is a place open 365 days a year to legally dump trash and it is not in the alleys, streets and vacant lots. We want to rid Los Angeles of the unsanitary and unsightly illegally dumped trash.
Active Recycling is accepting up to 500 pounds of trash to be dumped for free. Since the program started, Active Recycling has taken in more than 6 million pounds of trash for free and has proven it to be a working solution in addressing illegal trash dumping.
All communities matter, whether you’re rich or poor, of color or whatever your religious beliefs, residents have a right to a clean and safe community.
And Segal, is 100% correct. This press conference I attended wasn’t attended by big name community leaders and organizations that met with LAPD Chief Michel Moore and myself a couple of weeks ago as we all joined together to put a plan together to help stop LAPD racial profiling in South L.A. and this wasn’t a controversial protest I helped organize and led like the “Little Caesars” protest last week.
But the press conference I attended with a packed house of faith leaders and community residents was just as important to the residents of South L.A.as any other issue is. Segal and the residents and community leaders of South L.A.who came out to support this free city and county clean up program should all be commended.
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