NYC Mayor Adams' anti-rodent trash plans fizzles with locals – New York Daily News

Mayor Adams rolled out a new set of garbage collection rules Monday that he vowed will deliver death to New York City’s rat population — but local building superintendents argued the effort is a weak response to the city’s ballooning rodent crisis.
Under the new regulations, trash from residential and commercial buildings can’t be placed on curbs for pickup until 8 p.m., pushed back from the current 4 p.m. start time, Adams said in a news conference at City Hall.
In addition, the Sanitation Department will continue collecting 25% of the city’s trash on overnight shifts while most New Yorkers are asleep — all with an aim to shave the number of hours garbage sits on the sidewalks for rats to feast on, Adams said.
“We’re going to kill rats. Rats have no place in this city,” Adams told reporters, adding that trash lingering on sidewalks for hours on end is one of “many rivers that are feeding the sea of rodents in our city.”
New York City Mayor Adams (podium), his sanitation commissioner Jessica Tisch (to the right of podium), and other officials outside City Hall in lower Manhattan, New York on Monday, October 17, 2022, to announce the new regulations. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)
Isiah Crespo, 25, a super in the Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood, said Adams is overly optimistic in thinking rats will starve to death due to the curb rule change.
“It’s not gonna make a difference,” Crespo said. “(The trash) is going out just the same. If the rats are gonna get it, they’re gonna get it.”
Another Bronx super, who spoke on condition of anonymity since his boss prohibits him from talking with the press, agreed with Crespo and told the Daily News the rat problem at his building has gotten so bad that he and a coworker have started killing the vermin with illegal airsoft guns.
“We’ve taken it upon ourselves to start shooting them with airsoft rifles … We’ve shot a lot. I’m talking big ones,” said the super, holding his palms about 10 inches apart. He said he tries to take out the vile creatures in one shot, but sometimes needs a few more.
A rat inside a trash container in New York City. (Shutterstock)
The new curb restrictions, which won’t take effect until April 1 after a public comment period, come as trash and rat complaints are piling up in the city as part of a stinky trend that started during the coronavirus pandemic.
With New Yorkers producing more trash due to work-from-home policies and other practices, reports of garbage mountains lining the streets have exploded, and the Sanitation Department logged 21,600 rat complaints in the first nine months of this year, a tally about 71% higher than the count reported at the same point in 2020.
The new rules reduce the number of hours trash and recycling will sit on New York City sidewalks by adjusting the time of day trash may be placed on the curb. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)
Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch, who joined Adams for the press conference, said she believes the new curb regulations will drive down those numbers. She also stressed that the new rules are “historic” in that several previous mayoral administrations tried to implement similar plans, but failed due to a lack of support from important stakeholders, like sanitation and building workers’ unions.
“I want to be clear: The rats are going to absolutely hate this announcement,” she said. “The rats don’t run the city. We do.”
NYC rat sightings up 71% from same point in 2020 despite mitigation efforts ]
There are a number of exceptions to the new restrictions.
Building owners can dump trash on the curb at 6 p.m. if they keep it in containers with secure lids. Businesses can similarly put trash in secure containers on the sidewalk an hour before they close, regardless of the time of the day.
Buildings with nine or more units can also opt to set out their trash between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., according to Adams’ office. The caveat will be paired with the Sanitation Department developing new early morning routes to ensure trash doesn’t litter the streets as the sun rises, Tisch said.
Filled black garbage bags on the curb awaiting pickup by New York City sanitation workers. (Shutterstock)
The early morning option was pushed by 32BJ SEIU, the influential building workers’ union, which offered its support to the revised garbage rules after initially opposing them. The union’s support was considered critical for the plan to come to fruition, and a 32BJ rep told The News that it came onboard after Adams’ administration agreed to bake in the pre-dawn collection option. “We pushed hard on the admin,” the rep said.
Landlords and businesses that curb their trash early face $50 first-time fines under the new restrictions. Repeat offenders can face maximum levies of $200, but Tisch said there won’t be a focus on fines initially.
Street safety advocates have long called on the city to follow the lead of other major metropoles in developing a containerization system whereby trash wouldn’t be splayed out on sidewalks before pickup, but kept in bins that rodents can’t break into.
Tisch said the administration is exploring containerization, but poured cold water on the idea that it’ll happen any time soon. “Containerization is something that we are studying right now, and so we’re doing a 20-week study of it,” she said. “It started two weeks ago, so I have 18 more weeks before you hear more from me about the results of that study, but doing that study could not be more important.”
Trash is seen on the sidewalk at 43rd St. between 11th and 12th Avenues in Manhattan, New York in August 2022. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)
Adams has a long affinity for slaying rats. While Brooklyn borough president in 2019, Adams held a stomach-churning press conference where he showcased dozens of dead rats that his office had killed using trapping devices that plunged the rodents into a pool of toxic chemicals.
At Monday’s press conference, Adams referenced the macabre 2019 event: “Everyone that knows me they know one thing: I hate rats. You know, when I started killing them in borough hall, some of the same folks that are criticizing us now called me a murderer because I was killing rats.”
Biran Herbert, a 24-year-old South Bronx homeowner, said he has no problem with Adams’ plan and noted he typically takes out his trash around 8 p.m. anyway. But Herbert agreed with the skeptical superintendents in saying he doesn’t think the new rules will exterminate rodents.
“They eat all night anyway,” Herbert said.
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News

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