City, Nonprofit and Volunteers Help Keep Providence Neighborhood Clean of Litter

By ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC), the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the city’s parks and public works department and City Council member Sabina Matos are helping to clean up litter and debris from the hill behind homes on Bowdoin Street next to the Woonasquatucket River.

For years, area residents and others have used the hill to dump trash, blighting the view from the new spur of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway from Donigian Park to Delaine Street. Cyclists on this bike path, until recently, saw a hillside covered with sofas, TVs and mattresses.

To make things worse, the hill is eroding, and trash is falling into and blocking the river above the Woonasquatucket’s fish ladder, leaving fish to fight another obstacle trying to get upstream.
Illegal dumping is a crime, and rodents, such as rats, find homes in trash and become a threat to public health.

Last year, the WRWC’s river rangers and volunteers from Dassault Systemes cleaned the same hillside. This year, the WRWC hired a company to clean it. More than 60 yards of trash, 20 tires and 45 mattresses were removed.

Curran Tree Service will use a crane to remove the garbage dams in the river. WRWC staff and Matos will to visit residents door to door with flyers in English and Spanish that provide tips on how to deal with trash for free or at a very low cost.

Unlike many cities and towns in Rhode Island, Providence residents get free bulk-item pickup by simply making a phone call:

Free removal of furniture, tables, chairs, bureaus, shelves, stoves, washers and dryers, bathtubs, water heaters, air conditioners, computers and electronics (anything with a cord). Call Waste Management (1-800-972-4545) before 3 p.m. 24 hours before your regular trash pickup day to schedule a free pickup. Construction debris and roofing shingles are not accepted.

Drop off your mattresses or box springs for free at the Providence Public Works Convenience Center, 140 Terminal Road. Limited to two mattresses or box springs per resident per drop-off. Proof of Providence residency required. Drop-off hours are Saturdays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

Call Waste Management (1-800-972-4545) before 3 p.m. at least 24 hours prior to your regular collection day to schedule a curbside mattresses pickup. The cost is $22, and checks and credit cards are accepted.

Fines up to $500 for mattresses and box springs placed on the curb without a scheduled pickup or if illegal dumped.

Tires and paint are hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly. Click here for more information.

Free yard-waste pickup began April 13 and ends Dec. 11. Leave curbside on recycling and trash collection days; clippings, leaves and sticks should be placed in open barrels or paper yard-waste bags. Sticks must be cut to 4 feet or smaller and tied together. Yard debris can’t be placed in plastic bags.