City That Never Sweeps

Kylee Gregory, Editor

New York City is often glorified in media and movies as being the “city that never sleeps” because of the constant flow of people bustling around. Whether for work or a night out on the town, New York never sleeps. However, the media leaves out the realistic features such as the pollution, homeless “villages”, and now, the constant smell and sight of garbage left on the streets. 

In June, New York City had to cut their budget of the sanitation department by $106 million. Trash pickup has been reduced by more than 60%, leaving the city an animal infested dumpster. This means more and more trash is being left all over the city, on sidewalks, street corners, and in alley ways. Residents say more trash has been left out since the pandemic began and the budget was cut. People following the stay at home orders are producing more trash than ever before, but there is nowhere to put all of it. 

Street cleaning was once a regular twice-a-week occurrence, but it was suspended over the last three months. Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia says they should resume over the next few weeks, but will only happen once a week. New York’s Organics Collection Program is also suspended for a year, and officials are in the process of eliminating the electronics curbside collection as well.

More than just trash has been affecting the city’s residents, however. There have been several reports of dead rodents, mostly rats, on the streets and raccoons seen climbing out of dumpsters over the past few months. According to a recent Daily Mail article, city data shows that rat sightings increased from less than 1,000 in April 2020 to 1,658 in June 2020. With New York handling the pandemic well, they might have a different public health issue to focus on now.