Thursday, April 10, 2008

Athens Garbage Woes

Jaime Baker

Classes, grades and jobs aren't the only sources of stress for a lot of Athens residents. Now, there's garbage. A new solid waste officer is patrolling Athens and new code enforcement is causing a few problems for Ohio University students and Athens residents.

Stricter enforcement has begun in Athens after the hiring of Michael Gosnell as solid waste officer, and student housing neighborhoods are bearing the brunt. Many renters have been cited for having their garbage in the wrong places. Kristen Cox says that her roommates did not know what to expect or how to respond when they started getting the citations.

Cox on receiving the citation.

Another Ohio University student, Shanda Hudson, has also been getting tickets. She says she and her roommates on West Union Street don't even know which day garbage pick-up is each week. The house has been threatened with a $100 fine three times since January for putting garbage out too early. According to the ordinance, garbage should not be set out before 7 A.M. the morning of pick-up and also should be out of view of the public. Hudson says the early pick-up time is unfair for students who are not up early enough to put their garbage on the sidewalk.

Shanda Hudson says the garbage ordinances are unfair to students.

Fines for violating the codes can be anywhere from $20 to $100, with repeat offenses sometimes being charged even more. Code Enforcement Officer Steve Pierson says that when garbage is put out, everything should fit in a trashcan with a tight-fitting lid. He says that trash should be stored out of view mainly for hygiene purposes. But Hudson says that storing the trash behind her house has just resulted in missed pick-ups.

Shanda Hudson is frustrated with the growing piles of garbage.

Some students say the stricter enforcement of the trash codes is just causing unnecessary extra stress. Cox says that with everything else she has to worry about every day, garbage should not have to be her priority. She says that the problems with warnings and constantly growing trash piles have had a negative impact on her living situation.

Kristen Cox on the stress of worrying about her garbage

Trash collection in Athens costs $5.50 per month for weekly pickups of 30 gallon cans, and $9.50 for two cans.

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