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Monday, April 13, 2009

Dumping on Camden, and trash too

In the righthand sidebar, I posted a link to a Courier Post article on trash dumping in Camden. The article is ok and looks at a number of different issues to explain why trash piles up, what's being done, what the law is, etc. Bottom line is that there is a lot of illegal dumping of trash in Camden. This is a common tale in urban neighborhoods, so Camden is not alone. Also common and seemingly true in Camden is that a lot of that trash is dumped in the city by people who live outside the city or are in the city and have contractor waste to get rid of. People don't want to pay for dumpsters or pay the dump fee. So they find a vacant lot or a closed business and drop off their garbarge. The city is left to foot the bill of cleanup and in Camden, there is no money to spare. Every $ spent on dumped trash is $ not spent on police, infrastructure improvement, and other vital services.

While the issue is difficult and the article points out the various ways the city copes with the problem, the real meat of the story is in the reader's posted comments. The comments are a microcosm of the south Jersey attitudes toward Camden - quick to judge, quick to condem, and quick to blame race and poverty as inevitable predictors of the trash that is Camden. A sad commentary. Some commenters point out that at least some of the illegally dumped trash comes from outside the city. But their voice is small compared to the vitriol spewed by others.

It is a sad commentary on the level of race relations in this area (which is similar to other urban areas). Blaming the victim is an easy shot to take. Do people who live in Camden drop trash? Sure they do. Are people in Camden responsible for all the trash that is out there? No, of course not. But depending on your point of view, you will condem, condone, and scapegoat the good residents of Camden with the same broad brush to neatly make your worldview the explanation of what you think you see on the ground.

The most interesting thing is that the people who condem Camden for its own misfortune are not likely to ever see that they are part of the problem. Their hateful view of this city and its residents only continues the viscious cycle of trashing Camden. If you can say these things, then why not dump your trash in the city - it's a pit anyway, right? Instead of being constructive on how their fully taxed services in their community might be shared with Camden, they would just rather point a finger and assign blame. How many methadone clinics are in the suburbs? How many industrial properties that are falling down are in the suburbs? How many unemployed people with very little education are in the suburbs? How many suburbanites come to Camden to buy drugs or engage in other illegal activities? Yeah. I thought so.


George K. Clarke ART said...

People who need methadone come from all walks of life. They would not think a methadone clinic is a community negative at all.I wonder, since AA and NA rent space and attract much of the same people with addiction, why not put them on the same list as a community negative. Some people on opiates and prescription opioids need Medically Assisted Treatment for help with their chronic rerlapsing disease.

Do you see me? said...

I absolutely agree. Here in Camden there is an ongoing battle about relocating a methadone clinic and the suburbs won't even think about taking it.