Citizen complaint of the day: It's dirty diapers all the way down in East Boston


A disgusted citizen holds her nose as she reports on the disgusting conditions on Meridian Street:

The East Boston sidewalks are filthy. Trash service & street cleaning are great in theory, but the sidewalks never get cleaned & are constantly covered in dirty diapers & other assorted filth every single day following & up until the next trash day arrives, thus the cycle starts again. My idea: the City of Boston wants to clean up Eastie & bring in new businesses & young professionals, so I think that the Police should hang up many "No Littering/Fines Enforced" signs on the streets. I can guarantee you that the first time people get ticketed they will wise up. Also, an adequate number of trash barrels set up along the streets is needed badly, as is a newfound Police presence in regards to implementing & enforcing fines for owners/tenants who do not keep the sidewalk in front of their homes clean. It's called responsibility people!!! Finally, I am interested in offering my services, & getting some people together to "clean up East Boston" during one weekend day before the summer.



    Free tagging: 


    roll out the barrel

    This person hit the nail on the head -- ticket people who put out plastic bags of trash onto the sidewalk (which are torn apart by can-pickers, skunks, cats and possum). People just take old, plastic shopping bags or regular trash bags and toss them out in front of their houses, sometimes on days when it's not even trash pick-up. The owners of the property need to have fines directly assessed by the city to their tax bill and after repeated violations be brought up on some sort of more serious charges (serial shithead?).

    Landlords should be told to buy barrels and get their tenants to use them. There should be some place to store these barrels on the property so they're not permanently on the sidewalk. And there needs to be a long term, multilingual educational effort both in local schools and with the parents. I remember shaming my parents to get smoke detectors in the house in the 70s -- kids should be doing the same here.

    And we should all get more exercise and eat less processed foods.

    and no more reality television shows.

    Code enforcement

    It would be nice if they'd do code enforcement on a routine basis in neighborhoods other than the downtown ones. A few times I've done citizens connect on problem properties in my neighborhood who won't clean up their trash after we ask them several times. They close the complaint 4 or 5 days later, saying the trash wasn't there anymore. They should just walk around on trash day and cite people whose trash is out wrong and walk around on non-trash days and cite people whose trash is out when it shouldn't be, like they do in the downtown neighborhoods. Our neighborhoods would be cleaner and it would increase revenue for the city.


    At the risk of strawmanning a wee bit here, no, I don't give a fuck if I shoulda seen what it looked like in 1974 when they had to send the trash trucks out every day because your uncle was such a slob, and I further don't give a fuck that you aren't going to put your trash in heavy-duty bags because your grandfather has a square named after him, nor will any fuck be given that it isn't the city's business whether you recycle or what kind of bins or bags you use. Just preempting the usual entitled arguments that spring up here when the topic of caring about one's surroundings comes up.

    Oh yeah?

    But do you care about people who leave dirty diapers on park benches? What about people who toss their mcdonals bag on the sidewalk once they're done with the burger? Or the dude who smashes the bottle he had in his brown bag ? Or the dude that tosses a used syringe or used condom out of his car window? Or a tenant who tells the landlord to go eff himself when the landlord asks him to bag his trash and put it in a barrel instead of just tossing it in front of the house?

    Why is it always the

    Why is it always the landlords who are somehow supposed to be responsible for the tenants? Its one thing when some slumlord doesn't buy trash cans. Sure, report and fine them. But in all other cases - income property is not a babysitting operation. If the tenants are littering - they should get the fine.

    The city needs to work with the property owners. Those are the people that pay the taxes, not the tenants. If it was easier to get rid and discipline crappy tenants, then the trash problem might even stop being a problem. Something like: 15 days of past-due rent, and you can just dump tenants possessions onto the sidewalk and change the locks. Or - found littering in public or common areas - fine to Landlord's pockets. Possible by withholding from tenants paychecks.

    What needs to be done is the

    What needs to be done is the city of Boston must mail letters about this issue in Spanish and English, and have strict fines!!! I lived in Eastie for over 45 years and never seen as much litter everyday in all the years I've been here, it gets worse each year!! I don't know where it comes from I sweep all the time, I come out half hour later and there it is again, fell from the sky!! Where ever lottery tickets are sold, you will see lottery tickets mixed in with other debris on sidewalks and gutters,, I say where ever there is convinience stores with lottery machines city should place garbage dispenser barrels.Eastie is becoming less appealing to live in, because of littered streets, its embaressing!!

    Asian garbage toss with a side of diaper

    Do you actually live on meridian? I asked one of the elderly women who I caught pulling our trash out of the bin and tearing a peephole, "um can I help you?", but no English. I began tying up the hole as she left with her cart. She was elderly or at least weathered, I didnt call the cops.. Wish I did, trash pickup is too late now for me to fend off the messy elders and the Dreadlocker, who giggles when ask him to take it easy.

    Check out the South End section...

    Fancier people, same angst as me (my heart is w the hood, but my environmental efforts are with you fancy pants)

    1 million words, no solution except:

    European style bins..........

    Get cracking on solutions, grippers, we're listening...
    Meanwhile get off your camera phone and pick up the diapers with me.


    And where do you live now,

    And where do you live now, Michael? I lived in Eastie before moving to Revere, and Jeffries Point is amazing, EB has great parks (Piers Park, Constitution Beach), and some hole in the wall Italian places that kick the North End's ass. Yeah, trash was the MAJOR issue, but aside from that, what is your beef? Too many immigrants? A lot of Spanish being spoken? Really though, I'd love to know. You're closer to downtown than most any other neighborhood in the city for the price....


    I hated the trash, the trepidation every time I looked at the A7 Precinct Police Blotter to see how close the latest rash of break-ins was to me, the fact that the MBTA's solution to a broken bus AC/heating system was to stick it on the 116/117 route, the Blue Line was having bus substitutions constantly at the time, the horrible horrible laundromats, the snow-removal-on-sidewalks policy (hint: there is none!), and the fact that nobody would come visit me and for me to visit them was an hour-plus T ride if everything was working.

    Also, for what it's worth, I lived on Eagle Hill, which is not close to any of those nice things you mentioned. And since then have been various places in JP and now Cambridge.

    I see your point, but to me,

    I see your point, but to me, all of those inconveniences are found in most neighborhoods in Boston (esp JP from my experience). Orange and Red line DEFINITELY break down and have more bustitutions (except now when they are re-doing Orent Heights); newest stations/trains and the least crowded. Break ins happen in ALL neighborhoods, some more than others, but last I checked, people are getting mugged in JP by Forest Hills a lot, so that isn't much of a difference. I had in-building laundry, so I didn't need to go to a laundromat. Snow removal is horrid in a lot of tightly grouped areas in the city. That's the city's fault, not E. Boston (the city has "other" priorities like Back Bay, South End, and such). Plus, the "no one comes to visit me line" is BS, because people just THINK E Boston is a haul. I can get to Cambridge in less than an hour. Plus, if your friends lived in the Green line, then its their problem it takes forever (street stops will do that to ya).

    I just think you aren't really representing E Boston as it is, rather than a litany of complaints anyone would have in any neighborhood in Boston. My buddy is trying like hell to get out of JP because of basically the same issues you just brought up.

    But hey - to each his own. You should always live in a place where you feel safe and happy. For some it's Eastie, and other it's JP.


    A former colleague of mine

    A former colleague of mine who lives in East Boston reported that the people in her neighborhood cannot be bothered to take the trash down to the street. They just pitch the bags off of the third floor porch of the three-deckah!

    I wonder if that's what's happening here.

    This happens in chelsea too

    I have repeatedly called ISD about this and they are ruthless about giving out tickets for this. Unlike Boston, Chelsea does patrol the streets on trash day and hand out tickets, and they do.. promptly.. take care of ISD-related issues.

    Its a culture thing with the residents. They don't see 'clean streets' the same way we do. (I'll save my racial charged comments for another day)

    Chelsea has so much of a street trash problem the city has almost given up. They sweep every morning on the major streets downtown, and by afternoon its just as dirty. Trash cans can be found everywhere and are chucked full, yet trash still ends up on the ground. People just don't care about it.. I'm sure it is the same in Eastie too.

    (and yes I am back after a 3 month hiatus... I got bored..)

    The funny thing about the

    The funny thing about the cultural aspect is that extreme disconnect I see between personal upkeep and the upkeep of one's surroundings. In parts of the city I see an inordinate amount of time, effort, money, desire, etc. poured into looking like you have more money than you probably have.

    Why not pour a little of that "time, effort, money, desire, etc." into making your neighborhood look nicer than it's currently considered to be?

    Won't work

    Unfortunately.. at least here in Chelsea. I live on a street with several large brick apartment buildings and most of them have private dumpsters (with several pickups a week) and there's still a trash problem.

    At least in Chelsea the issue isn't so much bagged trash (although the bottle people/scavengers tend to rip bags apart) its just the general trash... bottles, empty bags, empty cups, empty food wrappers, scratch tickets (a ton of these!!).. all stuff you'd find at a bodega (which Chelsea has so many of these). Its like people are just too lazy to stick it in a trash can and just drop it wherever they are (and i've seen people do it).

    And it really is a cultural thing because it is not ALL cultures. Let's be honest with ourselves, Eastie is mostly El Salvadorian, and Chelsea is Guatemalan (or is it reversed).. both have trash problems. However.. you go to Everett which is a large Brazilian population and you could eat off the side walks. (by comparison). *shrug*

    Why not? Because a good

    Why not? Because a good portion of the problem is that people are lazy, and just drop the trash at their feet, out of their window, etc. I'm not sure there is a better idea than people simply caring about where they live -- even if only for sake of appearance.

    Masshole problems

    Masshole world problems.

    I don't think people from the ethnic groups that you describe are soley responsible for the trash festival of Dunks cups and McWrappers that litters Rt. 3 south of the city. Also, look how often you see a smoker in a car toss a lit cigarette out the window, or a pedestrian fling a finished, still lit ciggy where they stand.

    The general culture in this part of the country suffers from people who value a clean car or empty hands over not littering. Ask anybody who has ever done one of those roadway or beach cleanups how that rolls.

    Thanks for saying that

    Having grown up in 'poor' inner city neighborhoods [do the math], it was an all to common sight to see people who in reality didn't have a pot to you know what in driving around in bling leased vehicles, expensive clothes, the latest gadget, etc., But they lived in shitholes, public housing, etc. And these places were shitholes because the people who lived there overwhelmingly didn't give a crap. Their mentality is someone else will come around and clean up their mess, the landlord, the city, Americorp, you name it.

    And please, it's NEVER, EVER acceptable to toss dirty diapers onto the street or just dump them somewhere in public. That's a CULTURAL problem with the people who do it. I was by a church in a neighborhood that shall remain nameless one morning at 7AM when a car pulled up, a woman got out with an infant, changed the diaper, dumped the dirty diaper on the church stairs, hopped back in the car and took off. This again is a CULTURAL problem. Some people simply have no problem with behaving like pigs. In my neighborhood growing up we had a new family move in a few places down from my place. They were nice people, but behaved like pigs. Would toss garbage out the window down onto the sidewalk and street. Their ethnicity I won't say, but a friend of mine who was of the same ethnic background but was born and raised American laughed and said they came from a piss poor rural mountainous region of their country and were basically hillbillies and didn't know any better.

    I lived on Meridian st for 10

    I lived on Meridian st for 10 years. Trust me. the people who throw dirty diapers on the street will NEVER see this thread and they will NEVER attend a Clean up Eastie event. People used tbring their garbage to the corner near my building, and the code enforcement would ticket my building. The offending trash was not coming from my building. I wonder if code enforcement has wised up to that trick. they cant be everywhere at once and unfortunately Eastie is overrun with dirty illegals who live in squaller and throw trash everywhere. Its true. Ive seen it and i lived next to it for too long. I will pay more to live in a nicer neighborhood with no trashy people.

    It is funny how lots of folks

    It is funny how lots of folks around these parts (including friends of mine) will write off large swathes of this nation as "rednecks" and "hillbillies"... but can't hurl the dreaded R word at you if you point out the shortcomings of what amounts to another country's rednecks and hillbillies.

    I mean, yeah, there are plenty of homegrown-types who aren't terribly housebroken, but they're more the exception that proves the rule.

    historical perspective

    lived in Eastie in early 80s. though the ethnic mix was different then (lot of old time Italian happening plus newer Central American and a little Asian coming in), it was still mandatory to litter. in other words, the cultural littering thing was the same and superceded whoever was living there. i have no explanation for it. it was just a fact of life that we accepted and laughed about. (i will say i did not see dirty diapers--i think the grandmothers would have had none of it.) there were also lots of skunks in Eastie then as well. and in those days there were still many many 18ft boat cars from the 70s parked in the famous Eastie way with the back end hanging out from the corner into the intersection from a too-short curb space. winter was still no picnic and the laundros were urban and gritty. the best thing i've seen in all these posts is the Brazil suggestion of raised baskets, but people have to want to use them. try to start with the kids in school, i guess.