NORFOLK, Va. - Take a walk down Armistead Avenue near 13th Street in Norfolk and the trash is hard to miss. Several mattresses and litter have been dumped along the road.
“I cannot help but notice the trash,” said Joseph Jackson of Norfolk. “Without a doubt, it bothers me.”
A nearby “No Dumping” sign reads, “$2500 fine, one year in jail,” but that doesn’t seem to be stopping some people.
Sarah Sterzing is the education and program manager at Keep Norfolk Beautiful.
“It’s completely illegal dumping,” Sterzing said. “The thing about it is, it took much more effort for people to load up those mattresses and dump them than it would have been for them to have called bulk waste.”
As part of the Public Works department, KNB coordinates volunteer litter campaigns to pick up trash around the city and educates people about harmful environmental impact.
Since the start of the pandemic, the program has been on pause, and Sterzing said the litter has spiraled out of control.
“It’s sort of its own pandemic right now,” she said. “If people see that there’s trash on the ground, there’s an attitude of, 'Who cares? I’m just going to throw my trash on the ground,' and it starts to really build up. What we’re trying to do is teach people the importance of a healthy environment.”
Adding to the issue is the fact that street sweeping was stopped because of the increased number of parked cars on the roads.
Dennis Deitz of Norfolk said the litter is nothing new.
“I’ve noticed there’s trash at least along Granby Street; [there] has been for years,” he said.
News 3 found beer bottles, fast food wrappers and soda cans along Granby Street.
At a bus stop at Princess Anne Rd. and Monticello Ave., there was more trash. Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), not a city department, handles trash around the bus stops and light rail stations.
What it comes down to ultimately is everybody pitching in to do their part.
“We’re kind of being lazy and slacking, but I have hope we’re going to get it together,” Jackson said. “We have no choice. None of us want to lose what we have here.”
Street sweeping will resume the week of July 14. Keep Norfolk Beautiful will start up again on July 16 with its Adopt-A-Spot program.
To report illegal dumping, or request a bulk waste pickup or more, contact Norfolk Cares by phone or via online or mobile app.