Photo Courtesy of DSNY
“The mounds of garbage are both unsightly and unsanitary, driving away customers at a time when small businesses are struggling to survive, and attracting rats and vermin which spread disease while our city is in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” Comptroller Stringer and Rep. Espaillat wrote.
By Forum Staff
Two elected officials this week sent a joint letter to City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and new City Health Commissioner David Chokshi, MD, calling on the City to take immediate steps to address the overflowing litter baskets and increased rat sightings along the city’s commercial corridors.
“Over the last few weeks, our offices have received dozens of complaints from business owners across the city regarding overflowing litter baskets along commercial corridors. The mounds of garbage are both unsightly and unsanitary, driving away customers at a time when small businesses are struggling to survive, and attracting rats and vermin which spread disease while our city is in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” wrote City Comptroller Scott Stringer and U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan).
The officials’ missive also noted that, according to the Business Improvement Districts Association, “DSNY has cut waste basket pick-up from seven days a week to three days a week. However, DSNY still must meet its obligation to ‘keep New York City healthy, safe and clean.’”
The pols asked that Garcia and Chokshi answer the following questions by Sept. 1:
- Some business owners would like to put trash bins in front of their stores, but they are afraid of getting fined by DSNY. Will DSNY commit to work with BIDs and business owners to provide flexibility to businesses that want to add street bins at their own expense?
- In early March, the DSNY launched the “Clean Curbs” pilot program allowing private entities, such as BIDs, “to apply for the opportunity to have sealed, on-street containers for their trash and recycling storage, which will reduce their need to set out bags of recyclables and garbage for collection on City sidewalks.” Please provide us with any updates on the pilot program, including the name and location of all private associations that have applied. Is there an opportunity for the Clean Curbs pilot to be broadened so that BIDs can distribute overflowing litter baskets into sealed, on-streets containers?
- The New York City Parks Department recently unveiled four new smart garbage cans to deal with problems of overflowing trash cans in Gantry Park. As you know, these “Big Belly” cans can hold five times as much trash as a standard litter basket, have built-in sensors that notify personnel when they are full, and can be opened by foot. Has DSNY examined the possibility of deploying more of these innovative smart receptacles to commercial corridors?
- Since the advent of outdoor dining, City data shows that rat sightings have increased dramatically from less than 1,000 in April 2020 to 1,658 in June, despite committed efforts by the City’s dedicated pest control workforce. Given the extension of outdoor dining through October and the reduced collection services in rat mitigation zones, how does DSNY and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene intend to address the uptick in rats and better support pest control workers in this goal?