By Alicia Roberts

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia sanitation leaders say illegal dumping is “at an all-time high” with crews struggling to keep up. Eyewitness News looked into the problem and the role residents play to fix it.

Despite the city’s trash collection being back on schedule after COVID delays, the problem of illegal dumping continues.

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“Philadelphia is one of the most filthiest cities on planet earth,” Marshall said.

Eyewitness News was on site at one of the city’s six sanitation convenience centers on Saturday afternoon as a frustrated resident tried to do his part.

“I just dropped off garbage that I personally left my townhome and cleaned up off the streets,” Marshall said.

Eyewitness News’ cameras captured pile after pile of trash, mattresses, furniture and building supplies littering blocks and neighborhoods across Philadelphia.

“Illegal dumping is at an all-time high,” Keith Warren, deputy commissioner for sanitation, said.

Sanitation leaders warn that the problem often compounds itself.

“You take your couch down to the corner and just dump it, it usually inspires other people to add on to the pile,” Warren said.

And those dumping might not be who you expect.

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50% of all illegal dumping comes from individual households, taxpayers taxing the system with this bad behavior.

“People don’t dump on standard routes where we collect,” Warren said, “so it has to be reported to us, and then we have to send a crew to get it. It’s just more resources that could be dedicated to other things.”

“Some people have to be taught how to dispose of things,” Carolyn Paiga, of Roxborough, said.

Paiga says she frequently sees people tossing unwanted items right onto the sidewalk despite city collections services running mostly on schedule after COVID-19 staffing shortages earlier this summer.

“We can do more to encourage people to do the right things,” Paiga said.

She’s one of many hoping to lead by example, refusing to dump the problem onto someone else.

“Just be a good neighbor and follow the rules,” Warren said.

If you see illegal dumping in the act, officials ask you to call 911.

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For locations and more information on the city’s sanitation centers, click here.

Alicia Roberts