April 14, 2009

Reducing trash a responsible choice

Annie Linskey's article "Garbage pickup bill trashed at hearing as too restrictive" (April 8) inaccurately characterized the tenor of the City Council hearing on the city's "One Plus One" trash plan.

The Department of Public Works has spent more than one year studying current trash service and household trash volumes. Our study indicates that most households that recycle can easily stay within the new 64-gallon weekly trash limit.

Lobbyists for the real estate and landlord communities did voice concerns about new volume limits at the hearing, even as they registered support for the bill.

Their concerns about volume limits are well-founded. Our residential waste collection service was designed to serve single-family homes, and our focus continues to be on our primary customers, the homeowners of Baltimore.

Commercial business owners, including multi-family rental property owners, are required by law to provide adequate waste removal for their property. They can take advantage of city trash service but are, and will continue to be, restricted to the same volume limits imposed on homeowners.

Under the "One Plus One" legislation, all property owners will be able to continue using city service, but we will ask them to take on the same responsibilities we are asking of homeowners: to utilize adequate trash cans with lids for exterior trash storage, reduce their volume of trash, and recycle.

Implementing a standard municipal can program will help bring all properties into compliance with the sanitation code while reducing litter, illegal dumping and the rat population.

We as a community can clean up our city, but doing so requires that we all take personal responsibility for managing our waste to preserve precious landfill space, keep the streets and alleys clean and manage our costs.

David E. Scott, Baltimore

The writer is director of Baltimore's Department of Public Works.

New trash quotas just too limited

Mayor Sheila Dixon's once-a-week trash-collecting/recycling proposal might work in Roland Park, Hampden, Hunting Ridge (where Ms. Dixon lives) or even Ashburton ("Garbage pickup bill trashed at hearing as too restrictive," April 8). But for my inner-city neighborhood, it would mean more trash on the street and in the alley and more rats in my backyard.

I share my alley mostly with renters on Lanvale Street who reside in four-bedroom rowhouses that have been cut up into apartments. The 64-gallon trash cans that the mayor is proposing we use cannot accommodate a full week of trash from these apartment houses.

And I predict that when the 64-gallon cans fill up, bags of trash will line the alley for days, until the next trash collection day rolls around.

The mayor's proposal is not in the best interest of city neighborhoods and should be rejected.

Jennifer Combs, Baltimore

Israeli settlers key obstacle to peace

The letter "Slain Israeli boy wasn't a settler" (April 8) was incorrect and disingenuous.

In fact, Israel has more than 450,000 illegal settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These settlers, backed up by the Israeli police and military, commit heinous, violent acts against Palestinians daily. These acts include uprooting their olive groves and violent personal attacks.

The root cause of the violence in the Middle East continues to be Israel's brutal occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.

Instead of blindly supporting Israel, the U.S. should pressure it to end this occupation by cutting off the billions in military aid we wastefully give Israel every year.

Ray Gordon, Bel Air

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