By Omar Thabit
The Yemeni American News


There is no easy way to say it: the citizens of Hamtramck have a hard time keeping their city clean. Rather if it’s mowing their own lawns, shoveling the snow in front of their houses, or as simple as picking up the trash that’s outside their homes; residence are struggling to keep the city they call home in tip-top shape.

So what can be the resolution to this problem? Hamtramck resident Mohammad Hussain says it starts with the leaders of the community.

Hussain said, “I believe it’s unfair that the residents are getting tickets for not cleaning up around their home areas and the city lots are filled with trash and weeds as well. I’m not saying that those residents don’t deserve the tickets. I’m saying that if the city cleans up their areas first, then the residents will most likely follow.”

The ticket Hussain is referring to is an ordinance that the city of Hamtramck enforces on its residence. The ordinance basically allows the city to ticket a resident if they see your lawn not mowed for a long time, overgrown weeds in your backyard or front yard, trash in your front or back yard, graffiti on any property, etc. The ordinance allows the city to ticket a residence $100.00 if they find any of the things mentioned above for the first offense. The second offense is a $250.00 fine within one year; plus costs if any. The third offense is a $500.00 fine; misdemeanor violation subject to 90 days in jail; or any combination thereof upon conviction for the third and additional offense within one year.

Business owners in Hamtramck are also not happy with the trash issue in the city. Jamal Jawany, who is also a resident of Hamtramck and the co-owner of Delite Cafe, posted pictures on Facebook around this time last year talking about the trash that’s left behind in front of his business. According to Jawany, the issue has yet to be resolved.

“This trass issue has never been resolved. I’ve contacted the city, I posted pictures on Facebook; I tried to grab someone’s attention but it didn’t work. I am extremely disappointed at the fact that no one cared to come out to look at the situation in front of our store and see where the trash and debris are coming from.”

Jawany later added that the only time people cared was during the elections for city council. “I guess they did it just for publicity because after the elections were over no one came back to resolve the problem or take care of the trash,” said Jawany.

City Councilman Fadel Marsoumi believes it takes the whole community to work together to clean the trash in Hamtramck.

“Like any other suburban city, we have a trash problem in Hamtramck,” Marsoumi said. “We pride ourselves to having a clean community. We have to make all of the efforts needed to clean our community sidewalks and alleys. When I say we I don’t just mean city officials or city employees. I mean we as in everyone in the city of Hamtramck: from residents, to business owners, to councilmembers; we all must work together.”

In regards to a future initiative, Marsoumi said, “we are in talks to having permanent recycling centers in Hamtramck. We will get more information about it when it becomes available. But the last thing that just happened is we approved permanent recycling bins in Hamtramck and we’re looking forward to the initiative to help out with that.”

Hamtramck’s Acting City Manager also chimed in on this issue. When Angerer was asked what can the citizens do to make sure there isn’t a trash problem in Hamtramck, she said, “The City has regular weekly trash pick-up by GFL, a city contractor for household rubbish. GFL created a flier showing residents how to bundle waste that doesn’t fit in the can. We allow for one large item to be placed by the can each week. GFL encourages residents to keep their can in good repair and will issue a new can if the lid doesn’t fit properly or the can is damaged.”

Angerer closed out the interview by saying, “We have created a Summer Youth Program that has been in existence the last three years. Part of the program is assisting with picking up loose trash that is dropped or blows along streets. We have also been a part of the Be a Good Neighbor Program, a grant program that was written by a college student and with summer interns an educational program. The City also installed about 60 new garbage cans in the last two years and increased our pick up of those cans to three times per week. The City publishes a quarterly newsletter and includes information about trash disposal and being a good neighbor that is helpful to businesses and residents. We regularly have school groups that tour the City Hall or parks and I always make it a point to speak to our young people about keeping our City and parks clean so that it can be enjoyable for all who are here.

It’s time Hamtramck residents make the city clean again, picking up one trash at a time!