OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) --The city of Oakland is looking at ways to crack down on an epidemic of illegal dumping on their streets, but some business owners say they can't wait any longer and are taking matters into their own hands.
It's everywhere you look on the streets of Oakland. Garbage is being illegally dumped, which is a problem city leaders admit and they can't begin to keep up with. "It is unacceptable the level of illegal dumping in this town. It is disgusting," Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said.
Despite efforts to crackdown, business owners like Jose Ferreira say the city's lack of response has forced him and his employees to do their own policing along their stretch of 47th Avenue in East Oakland. "We find all kinds of stuff, animals, dead animals, garbage," he said.
Just last weekend, Ferreira told ABC7 News two men rolled up in the middle of the day and began dumping items out on the street. Ferreira began taking pictures of them, their white van and even the vehicle's vin number. "He didn't have no license plate, dealer license plate, so we opened the door and took a picture of the vin number," Ferreira said. "At 2 p.m. on Saturday, he was throwing garbage, we started taking pictures and asked him to pick up the garbage or else we'd report it to the city."
47th Avenue is in the heart of city councilman Noel Gallo's district. "For me, the only way Oakland's going to change is the neighbors, the merchants, the residents get involved and active and don't leave that up to the city to take care of," he said.
Gallo and other council members want Oakland to become more proactive by reinstituting a reward program for those who report illegal dumping. "Let me be clear, don't grab them, take a picture of the license plate, send it to email@example.com," Kaplan said.
Ferreira told ABC7 News he'll keep taking pictures, and whatever it takes because he just wants this to stop on his block.