2017 Sanitation Service Requests By Ward

Which ward had the most sanitation violations in 2017?

According to recently obtained data from the Chicago Data Portal, 2017 wasn’t the cleanliest year for Chicago. Two thousand service requests related to sanitation code violations were filed across the city’s 50 wards. Complaints ranged from “garbage in alley” and “overflowing carts” to “construction site cleanliness/fence”.

The ward in which the most sanitation complaints were filed was the 6th ward, which includes parts of Chatham and Englewood. Additional data from the Chicago Data Portal indicates that Englewood is the third most impoverished neighborhood in the city, with 46.6% of households below the poverty line.

Despite being the ward with the most sanitation complaints, 6th ward Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer’s website contains no references to sanitation aside from links to city-wide resources. Online resources available to Chicagoans include the ability to file a service request, check the status of a request, or view additional information such as garbage fees and pharmaceutical drop-off locations.

To Sawyer’s credit, he did raise concerns about the implementation of garbage collection fees as the chairman of the Black Caucus in 2015. The alderman, representing an overwhelmingly African-American constituency, hesitated to support the legislation out of fear that it would incentivize low-income individuals to throw their trash in alleys in lieu of the paid service. The Black Caucus eventually agreed to pass the legislation, but the high volume of 2017 service requests indicates Sawyer’s premonitions may have been justified.

Although many on City Council have ideas for how to tackle this pressing matter, it could take decades before the city adopts an affordable and sustainable solution to its sanitation predicament.

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