CHICAGO — For a neighborhood with sky-high pride, it might be surprising to hear Bridgeport residents talk trash about their own streets.
Garbage, that is.
Now a group of residents is taking matters into its own hands, using the upcoming Earth Day cleanup effort to highlight what they say is a lack of trash cans along major neighborhood thoroughfares.
“This in an issue that’s been stuck in my craw for awhile,” said Andrew Mack, 29, who took to the streets last week to speak with business owners and passersby about the need for more receptacles.
“Frankly, I haven’t run into anyone who’s been opposed to having more garbage cans,” he said.
Organizers of Saturday’s volunteer cleanup will pass out postcards seeking feedback on getting more garbage cans along the streets. They’ll also snap pics of litter and other debris.
Christopher Jones has taken it a step further.
The 34-year-old Bridgeport resident created a video, set to AC/DC ‘s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” that takes viewers on a first-person tour beginning at 36th Street and working its way up Halsted to 31st.
While the background buildings and streets are faded, the trash is kept in vivid color and is visible along the curbs, piled near sewer covers and collected in the otherwise manicured parkways.
What seems to be missing are trash cans.
"It got to the point where walking down the street and trying not to step on garbage was a challenge," Jones said.
Owen Lloyd, co-owner of Blue City Cycles bike shop, said the garbage can issue has been an ongoing hassle. A can outside his shop, located next to a CTA bus stop at 32nd and Halsted, disappeared then reappeared about a year and a half ago.
But that receptacle was mysteriously removed, leading the business to request another can by calling the city's 311 service.
"It's beyond me," he said.
Ald. James Balcer (11th) has said trash cans had been removed from Halsted at the request of business owners and private citizens.
The receptacles, he said, were overfilling with household garbage and were filling up as quickly as they could be unloaded.
“I’ve had people tell me to take them out. I’ve had people tell me to put them in. It’s a real dilemma,” Balcer said. “Who knows if [more cans] will bring rats or other problems?”