Rats, bedbugs, fleas, maggots result from LA's mounting garbage issues


Trash is piling up around Los Angeles, and homeless activists, business owners, and residents are frustrated about what the city is or isn’t doing to change it.

Until the pandemic struck, trash around homeless encampments were regularly cleaned up and sidewalks were disinfected, but with concerns about spreading COVID-19, the city has allowed mountains of trash to grow in areas in and around San Fernando Valley to downtown LA and in Venice Beach.

"The stench around here is horrific. Bodily fluids everywhere," Estela Lopez, who represents businesses in the Central City East tells NBC 4. “It’s been six months since these sidewalks have been cleaned.”

In the months since the start of the pandemic, trash has built up, attracting rodents, fleas, bedbugs, and now maggots.

Pepe Garcia, the assistant director of the Bureau of Sanitation, told NBC 4 that he is not allowed to clean up human waste or trash that lives behind the tents, he can only do “spot cleaning,” meaning what can be seen in plain view on the street.

"When we had tuberculosis, the city and county got together with the CDC and figured out what they could do," Lopez says. "What we have now is a city and county that is the example of inaction."