By Tim McNicholas
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NEW YORK (WCBS) – New York City has unveiled its latest plan to tackle litter and rats.
Officials are also studying best practices from cities around the world. So CBS2’s Tim McNicholas decided to do the same to find out what worked.
“It makes the streets look horrible, attracts rats and cockroaches,” said Norbert Bives.
“It sucks that it’s on the street,” said Matthew Jong.
“I don’t know what the alternative would be,” said Will Brooks.
But there are alternatives, some of which have caught the attention of the town hall.
Take Barcelona, Spain, for example, where residents leave their trash in large covered bins on the sidewalk until it is collected by sanitation trucks.
CBS2 has learned that New York City officials are exploring how or if a similar approach might work here.
“We’re going to keep looking at how to use containers more, how to really get trash off our street,” Mayor Eric Adams said.
In the meantime, Adams announced that the city will reduce the length of time trash bags are allowed on the sidewalk.
Currently, trash cans can be left from 4 p.m. the day before pickup. From April, it will be 8 p.m., or 6 p.m. for waste placed in an individual bin.
“Keeping our streets cleaner for a longer period of time and discouraging rodents from running their own version of what we like to say about open restaurants,” Adams said.
Rat sightings in the city have increased by more than 70% since 2020.
The city is also investigating the garbage containers used in parts of Amsterdam. They look like regular trash cans, but there’s more space underground.
The solutions are not infallible.
“You don’t want containerization to go wrong. It’s going to be done in New York, but we have to study it. We have to have a plan and we have to make sure it works,” said DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch.
City Hall has embarked on a pilot program to try out trash cans in parts of the five boroughs. The city also said it is stepping up enforcement against people who violate garbage rules.
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