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Is illegal dumping in Kansas City still an issue?

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Sam Zeff
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KCUR 89.3

Illegal dumping has been a problem in Kansas City for years. Recently, officials conducted an audit to see how well the city has addressed the issue.

Back in the 1990s, a city audit found most illegal dumping in Kansas City was commercial waste. Now, most illegal dumping comes from people throwing out their garbage and personal items.

Alan Ashurst, the city's illegal dumping investigator, has anywhere from 17 to 25 cameras hooked up at frequent dumping sites to try to catch people in the act.

"We can't stop people from dumping. A lot of people get mad at the city," Ashurst said. "But we do have a number of things coming up to help to at least try to keep things cleaner."

A person who gets caught dumping illegally for the first time can face a court appearance and a fine up to $600.

"That's a lot of money for someone who could've bought a trash can for $2.50," Ashurst said.

Residents can call (816) 513-DUMP (3867) to report illegal dumping. The city says it can usually take care of the problem within 24-36 hours. If it's a larger issue, like the site off NE Oak Ridge, it'll take more time and trucks to haul the trash away.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.