Last week marked the end of nearly two straight weeks of public events in Downtown, with residents and visitors celebrating a variety of various holiday and cultural events, culminating with the big N.Y.E.L.A celebration at Grand Park. Outside of Grand Park, Downtown restaurants and bars were packed to the gills as people traveled into Downtown to help ring in the start of a new decade for Los Angeles.

But while most people have already moved on with thoughts of how to make 2020 a year to remember, in the week following New Year’s Eve many city cleaning teams were still seen dealing with the remnants of last year, working to clean up the collection of trash that always seems to proliferate in Downtown after large community celebration. Nothing can be cleaned up instantly, given the size of Downtown and the extent of the celebrations, but the amount of waste and refuse leftover from partygoers was excessive, to the point where this page wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that visitors were actively avoiding trash cans.

While it might seem fairly obvious that people should pick up their trash, it’s clear that people are not.

Downtown Los Angeles already has cleaning services provided by taxpayers through the Department of Sanitation, and augmented services through the business improvement districts, both of which are often pushed to their limits given the population of Downtown and the amount of refuse it generates both as a neighborhood and as an entertainment and business destination. Add in the crowds that come for holiday events and it can lead to the filthy conditions of this past week. Event organizers provide waste bins and clean-up the aftermath, but people who come to Downtown must do their part to treat the area with some respect.

Downtown is one of the artistic and entertainment centers of the Greater Los Angeles area, and as such will continue to draw thousands of people into the Central City to experience what the neighborhood has to offer. However people must remember that Downtown is at its core, a neighborhood filled with families who do not want to see their community turned into a litter box after each event, and that residential population is only growing. It will need to figure out and construct the infrastructure to handle the amount of new residents, but that does not excuse anyone from treating city streets like their personal trash receptacle. It is not a place for people to come, party and leave their trash without consequence and unless this is addressed it will only get worse and hurt the quality of life in the Central City. Simply put, people do not like going to places they feel are dirty and no one benefits in that scenario.

The residents of Downtown have worked hard to foster a sense of community in the neighborhood, let’s not tarnish that by being a litterbug.