SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More citations are being handed down in San Diego for illegal dumping, even as a strange sight appeared along a street in Central San Diego.
A 10News crew spotted the piano on Federal Boulevard, right under the I-805 overpass. Nearby were two shopping carts filled with trash and three tires.
"It's demoralizing because we have worked so hard," said Linda Pennington.
Pennington founded Project CLEAN - a volunteer trash cleanup crew - nearly 40 years ago.
"The piano is a little bigger than the things we usually pick up," said Pennington.
It's a big item and potentially a big magnet.
"People are going to add to it, and you're going to have a landfill in the middle of this community," said Pennington.
Over the past few years, 10News has covered plenty of dumpings across San Diego: Toilets, carpet pads, a lot of couches, mattresses, and countless frustrated neighbors.
City councilmember Chris Cate is now pushing for rewards for leads on dumpers. In March, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced new penalties for illegal dumping, increasing the maximum fine to a thousand dollars.
City spokesperson Greg Block says 44 citations have issued since the new penalties started in March. He believes that is an increase over the same period last year, but because of different tracking methods in the past, the size of the increase is not known. About half of the fines were for $250 or more.
Pennington has noticed a difference.
"We've seen less a little less dumping. I'm not sure if that's a result of increased fines," said Pennington.
10News did report the piano on the city's get it done app.
Last year, the San Diego Environmental Services Department identified nine hotspots that tended to have the largest volume of trash: Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Logan Heights, San Ysidro, City Heights, Paradise Hills and three combination zones: Mission Beach/Pacific Beach, Webster/Mount Hope in southeastern San Diego and the South Bay area near the international border.