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#224: Groups get together to curb dumping of trash (LITTLE HAITI) (fwd)


Published Sunday, July 25, 1999, in the Miami Herald  LITTLE HAITI
Groups get together to curb dumping of trash
 By VALERIE NAHMAD Herald Writer 

 The streets of Little Haiti have been a little cleaner lately -- thanks
to an effort by the city of Miami and several community groups that have
banded together to stop illegal trash dumping. The problem has plagued
Little Haiti for several years, but now some residents say they are
seeing real progress. On May 12, representatives from the Neighborhood
Enhancement Team met with Assistant City Manager Raul Martinez to plan a
strategy that would find and clean up present dump sites and prevent
future dumping. ``People stop me on the street and congratulate me. They
call into the Creole radio station. It's very encouraging,'' said NET
Administrator Roger Biamby. Since the meeting, Biamby and NET inspectors
have created two lists of illegal dumping sites in Little Haiti -- one
of public properties, the other of private lands. Once listed as a site,
the area is cleaned by the city's Solid Waste Department and marked with
a ``no dumping'' sign. Fliers encouraging neighborhood involvement are
then handed out. Currently there are 69 sites and each is monitored
weekly. ``We've had about 45 to 50 percent success,'' said Biamby.
``It's hard because as we take care of one area, it's occuring in
others. Every week the number of sites increases.'' In addition to
watching the sites, the Solid Waste Department has increased
 pickups and local police have installed evening and weekend
surveillance -- with cameras and people. ``Raul Martinez has been very
very instrumental in getting departments of the city of Miami to focus
on the problems we've been facing,'' Biamby said. ``Nothing
 would be done in Little Haiti if it weren't for Martinez's
directives.'' The NET's future plans include purchasing additional
surveillance cameras and adding another inspector to the current
three-man team. The NET has gotten a boost from community efforts with
the same aim. Help is coming from SIDE Watch and Communities United.
 SIDE Watch, a combined group of residents and Miami police officers,
uses late night and early morning police surveillance to apprehend
illegal dumpers. Violators are then featured on the Haitian Television
Network and Creole radio. SIDE Watch is under the command of Police Lt.
and NET Coordinator Cornelious Drane. He regularly discusses dumping
issues on Creole television and local radio programs and also is
actively involved in Communities United, another grass-roots effort to
clean up Little Haiti. Communities United has disposed of over 300 tons
of trash in Little Haiti since its creation seven months ago. It holds
weekly Saturday cleanups and works with the Department of Corrections,
police, NET resource officials, the Department of Sanitation and
Operation Greenleaf. ``We've had enormous success so far,'' said Hattie
Willis, the president of Communities United. ``We've saved the city over
$24,000 dollars in cleaning up illegal dumping.'' The group was recently
allocated $10,000 from the police department to educate people in Little
Haiti about dumping and how to stop it.