Troy council members encourage ‘Alleyway Ally’ adoption to help clean up trash

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Neighbors in Troy say they’ve had just about enough of all the garbage people illegally dump all over their homes.

“That’s what rats do. They go around with trash and they don’t care who they affect. Pests, that’s all they are, pests,” says one man David Brooks.

Old furniture, TVs and huge piles of who-knows-what still lie scattered all over back alleys around Troy.

“You don’t want your three-year-old coming inside crying because they just stepped on something out in the alleyway which shouldn’t even be there in the first place,” Brooks explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

“In my day, the children would play in the alley. When you didn’t want to go out into the busy street, alleyways were perfect to throw a ball around and play games with your friends,” explains lifelong Troy resident and District 1 Councilman Jim Gulli. “You could do that, because they weren’t in these types of conditions. The way they are today, I would fear having my child play out in an alleyway.”

Troy’s taken steps to catch those tempted into using alleyways as their personal dump, including buying mobile surveillance cameras city workers can monitor from their cell phones. The cameras are moved regularly between alleyways reported as known dumping areas.

However, council members Gulli and Kim Ashe McPherson say all the loose trash also comes from residents who don’t put their garbage out for pickup properly.

“The barrels are just over filled, there’s not enough adequate barrels in a lot of houses, and there’s not enough time in the day to sweep up after people who won’t take the time and effort to package their garbage properly,” Gulli says. “Our [sanitation] guys are stressed out. They are covering a lot of alleys, they’re picking up a lot of garbage, and there’s a lot more garbage than ever before in every one of these bins.”

“I know it’s a lot easier to just throw that garbage bag out there, and hey somebody else is going to pick it up not my worry, but it is your worry. It’s all of our worries, because it’s getting out of control and it needs to get a grip,” explains McPherson, the District 2 councilwoman who’s lived and raised her children in Troy. “You look down here, garbage just got picked up, but there’s still bags out. That tells me people are coming in afterwards and putting out more.”

Gulli and McPherson say it’s important to educate homeowners, landlords, and renters what the law says about Troy’s trash pickup.

“The bags are supposed to be in the bins, with a lid on, and out on the curb by about 6 p.m. the day before pickup,” McPherson says.

The two also hope the litter solution is getting the people involved together. They’ve launched the “Alleyway Ally” program ahead of Earth Day. Anyone can join volunteer groups dedicated to getting the garbage off the streets.

“Let’s get out there together and pick an alley, make it yours, let us know if you need help. We’ll try to get the help out to you on any day that you’re going to do it,McPherson says. “Let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done.”

“The reality is the city cannot do it alone, the residents cannot do it alone, but together we can clean up majority of this mess that we have created,” Gulli says.

If you would like to volunteer to adopt a Troy alley and assist in cleanup, reach out to Gulli and McPherson at betterburgh@gmail.com. This program is in addition to the annual citywide cleanup Troy organizes for Earth Day.

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