Residents in Harrisburg want to know who is dumping hazardous waste in their communities.

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Residents in Harrisburg want to know who is dumping hazardous waste in their communities.

Residents in Harrisburg gathered this week to take a tour of illegal dumping sites in their neighborhoods and put their heads together to figure out who’s responsible and how to stop them.

Rafiyqa Muhammad, a longtime city resident and member of the state’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board, led the tour.

After receiving complaints about illegal dumping sites that sometimes contain hazardous materials, she invited residents to the event on Wednesday afternoon in the area of 6th and Maclay streets.

The majority of the trash in these dumps appears to be commercial trash like tires, toilets, construction debris, and hazardous waste, rather than household garbage.

The event was organized by Muhammad and John Brakehall, regional coordinator for the state department’s office of environmental justice, to hear from residents and coordinate resources to address the long-standing issue.

On 6th Street, there’s an alley.

After the tour, Muhammad led a discussion in which she shared some of the excuses she’s heard from residents over the years when they complain about illegal dumping, such as blaming residents for the trash or launching “solutions” without first consulting those who live closest to the dumping sites.

“I’ve seen some stuff on Facebook about residents in this community not wanting improvements in our city.. that is a bold face lie,” Muhammad said.

“We want to see improvements in our city, and this is how we do it.”

Many residents want to help with solutions, but Muhammad says they must be included in the process.

Residents are the most knowledgeable about the problem and must live with the trash that blights their neighborhoods, so she believes they should be consulted.

Residents have attempted to gather information and evidence on potential dumpers, and Muhammad is working with a number of agencies and officials throughout the city.

The Camp Curtin YMCA has dealt with similar issues across the street from the Harrisburg Fair Housing building.

However, residents require more resources and a more coordinated effort.

On 6th Street, there is an alley.

“Things were going on in the neighborhood, and we tried to figure out what was going on,” said.

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