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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Back in March, a Wilmington resident was on a mission to clean up her neighborhood. Often times, Lola James was left alone to clean up everything from broken glass to paper bags. But today, she says the trash problem has gotten worse and she is fed up with the filth.

It was seven months ago, when James first came to us. She was leading an effort of cleaning up the trash in her neighborhood.

When we followed up with James Friday, she told us the situation has gotten even worse.

“Now we’ve got people coming in, dumping tires, dumping trash,” James said.

The trash problem has gotten so bad, James has decided to move.

“Everybody steps ahead,” she said. “I can’t stay in the same position. I have to move on.”

In a quick walk through Princess Place Drive and Evans Street, the litter problem is very apparent. From empty beer bottles to even a basketball goal, trash is rampant. James says different groups have come in to clean up, but their work is not maintained. So she’s asking for the city’s help.

“I’ve talked to code enforcement. I’ve talked to ATF. I’ve talked to the police department,” James said. “What more can you do?”

So we dug for answers ourselves. Mayor Bill Saffo tells us he’s aware of the problem.

“We’ve had 45 cases of code enforcement cases that our staff has gone out to investigate,” he said. “Thirty-five of those cases have been closed. We have ten that are currently pending.”

Saffo says a lot of the responsibility of cleaning up falls on the landlord.

“We have an exorbitant amount of landlords, either state landlords or landlords that do not live in this particular area, and when tenants move out a lot of times they’ll leave their debris on the side of the road,” Saffo said.

Despite who’s responsible for the clean-up, James says a solution needs to come quickly.

“I’m pleading with the mayor, City Council, maybe themselves need to come and walk through and see what we see,” she said.

“I respect people like Lola James and others that take it upon themselves to call the city and see what we can do to make sure these people are cleaning up their property,” Saffo said.

James tells us different groups have come in to clean up but their work is not maintained.


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