Saturday morning brought a flurry of activity to the La Posada neighborhood as a community cleanup set up shop on the corner of La Posada and La Plaza Drive.
The cleanup brought together the Brownsville Public Health Department, Brownsville Police Department, Traffic Wardens, Animal Control, Public Works, RGV Fishing Area and Waterway Cleanups and community volunteers to help remove waste materials from residents’ yards and homes.
City Commissioner Nurith Galonsky was one of the main advocates for the event to help meet a need she saw in her district.
“There are a lot of people that unfortunately, for whatever reason, have a lot of stuff in their yards and in their homes. Oftentimes it can be a hazard, not only for them but for the neighbors,” Galonsky said.
While Galonsky has made it a goal to have at least one cleanup event a year, this was the first they’ve been able to organize since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help get the word out, the Brownsville Public Health Department put out a dedicated campaign on Facebook and on Monday went out to each home to distribute a flyer with information about what items would and would not be accepted.
While it might seem like getting trash and unwanted items out of your home might be as simple as putting things out at the curb, trash pickup services often have limits as to what they will pick up and taking items to the city landfill can be just as difficult depending on a resident’s ability and circumstances.
“Some of them unfortunately don’t have trucks to take their items to the landfill and some items are not accepted by the public service so we’re doing this for the community to take advantage of this cleanup and throw unwanted materials into our containers,” said Norma Rodriguez, Ordinance Enforcement Supervisor for the Brownsville Public Health Department.
With several roll-off containers stationed in an empty lot, residents were able to pull up and easily drop off any unwanted items like tires, mattresses, or appliances. If residents weren’t able to wrangle their disposable goods themselves, volunteers and city employees were on hand to help or they could place them out at the curb for pickup.
While getting rid of these items does help to make resident’s yards a little more user-friendly as we approach the summer months, getting rid of these items does serve a more serious purpose by removing a health risk.
Tires and other items that can hold water create the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes to flourish, while piles of standing trash and items can harbor rodents and snakes that can infest homes and present a safety hazard. By getting the items out of their area, residents can make it harder for these pests to flourish in their neighborhood.
At a recent cleanup event for District 2, Rodriguez collected around 23 tons of trash, with this event she’s expecting to exceed that. In just the first two hours the cleanup’s initial three 30 cubic yard dumpsters were filled to the brim with tires, lumber discards and other unwanted items.
“Our goal here is to keep Brownsville beautiful and keep on going and hopefully we continue to get more cleanups in the future,” Rodriguez said.
For residents that missed out on the cleanup, but still have items to dispose of there are two options available. The first is calling the city’s 546-HELP Support Center at 956-546-4357 to learn what day you can put items not accepted in regular trash pickup out for removal.
The second is to bring your items out to the City of Brownsville MSW Landfill along with your driver’s license and a utility bill between 7 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. Monday through Saturday.