GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Illegal dumping has forced Greensboro city crews to clean up the mess while making the people tossing trash pay up. 

Community Improvement Division Manager Troy Powell told FOX8 the trash is an eyesore and hazardous for crews to clean up. There could be animals or chemicals in discarded items. 

“It’s really disheartening when someone from another community or another area of the city just brings and dumps trash on them,” Powell said. 

FOX8 cameras spotted old cabinets, dirty couches, broken chairs and torn mattresses on the sides of neighborhood streets across the city on Tuesday. 

“If you put anything on the ground, you’re going to violate either the nuisance for private property or you’re going to violate illegal dumping,” he said. 

Powell told FOX8 crews are trying to identify the people doing the illegal act, whether it’s in broad daylight or at night. 

The city council passed an illegal dumping ordinance a year ago. Since then, there have been 12 illegal dumping reports filed and eight people were served civil penalties. Powell said they were all repeat offenders. 

“$500 is a lot of money for just…putting some trash out not in front of your own house. And then every offense after that first one is $1,000 each,” Powell said. 

Field crews track the people behind the trash with facial recognition or license plate matching from cameras installed at illegal dumping hot spots. 

Powell told FOX8 that cameras, barricades and signs have helped prevent the pesky habit in some areas.  

“Signs don’t always fix the problem,” he said. “Maybe putting it up might get the person that always thought ‘I think I’m supposed to put it here.’ It’ll get that person that might can comply with the ordinance much easier.”

Neighbors play an important role by stopping and reporting what happens.

“If someone dumps, and they leave the trash on the ground long enough, other people are going to think ‘that’s where I can dump,'” Powell said. “If somebody dumps, the faster you can clean it up even if it’s your area…the faster you can get it off the ground.”

There are three options for tossing out bulk trash in the city.

Residents can put it at the curb during bulk collection days, call city crews to pick it up or take it to the landfill. Call 336-373-CITY (2489) to make a pickup appointment or report illegal dumping.