Hungry rats, another consequence of the pandemic 2:24
(WABNEWS) — New York City has become an “all you can eat” for rats, so city officials are taking steps to limit the number of hours residential and commercial trash can sit in the street. curbside before being picked up.
Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch, joined by Mayor Eric Adams at a news conference this week, made the announcement that she says “rats are going to absolutely hate,” changing the length of time trash bags can be stacked in the curbside, 4 to 8 p.m. Residents can take out their trash at 6 p.m. if the bags are placed in sealed containers, under the new rules. Trash must continue to be deposited curbside before midnight.RELATED
“Rats don’t run this town,” the commissioner said. “We do it.”
But urban environmentalist Michael Parsons is skeptical of the city’s latest move to combat mounting complaints about trash heaps and rat sightings on New York’s sidewalks.
“A lot of rodent scholars have mixed feelings about this,” Parsons said of the plan. “On the one hand, we’re glad something is being done. On the other hand, we’ve argued that it’s much better to work on the problem proactively rather than some kind of reflex reaction.”
Rodent activity in urban areas increased during the pandemic due to restaurant closures or partial openings, as rats sought food sources other than restaurant containers.
“We knew that because of all the new food resources that the rats had because of all the new people working at home, cooking at home and creating more waste at home, there was potential for a wide population expansion.” and that it even increased … and it’s happening,” Parsons said.
Adams told reporters that New York City regulations regarding curbside pickup hours had been in place since the late 1960s.
Tisch, for his part, said the city would also allow large buildings with nine or more units to opt annually for a 4-7 am waste collection schedule.
“We’re picking up a lot more on the midnight shift than on the 6 a.m. shift,” he said. “Approximately 25% of our collection now takes place at midnight. And for large buildings that opt for 4-7am deliveries, we will design bespoke routes to get trash off the street almost immediately.”
The goal, according to Tisch, is to reduce the number of hours trash sits at the curb from about 14 hours to four hours with additional pickups on the midnight shift.
“This will reduce the amount of time litter sits on the street before collection, keeping our streets cleaner for a longer period of time and deterring rodents from bringing their own version of what we like to call open restaurants.” Adams stated.
“No more tripping over the black bags at rush hour. No more watching these bags litter our sidewalks earlier in the day.”
On Monday, Orkin, an Atlanta-based pest control service, released its annual ranking of US cities based on the number of new rodent treatments from September 1 to August 31, every year.
For the eighth consecutive year, Chicago ranked first, followed by New York and in third place, Los Angeles.
Michael Deutsch, an urban entomologist based on Long Island, doesn’t think the time change will cause a significant drop in New York’s rodent population.
“The impact, in my opinion, would be minimal because rats are very resourceful. They are survivors,” he said.
“The mayor has (his) hands full. And this is an attempt on his part, and hats off to him, to do the right thing. But I don’t think it’s going to have much of an impact. The optics will be nice… That That translates into a decline in the rodent population, I highly doubt it.”