NEW YORK (PIX11) — It’s been a summer of change for New York City when it comes to garbage disposal. It’s all part of the ongoing fight to get a handle on the city’s rat population.
Fourteen public schools in West Harlem now have large permanent trash containers installed outside as part of a pilot program. Councilman Shaun Abreu had pushed for them in his district after PIX11 News did a story last fall about the garbage bags piling up outside of schools.
Tuesday night, Abreu met up with PIX11’s Eileen Lehpamer outside P.S. 36 on West 123rd Street to check on things. With the school custodians not yet at work, Lehpamer and Abreu found garbage bags in the unlocked composting bin and recyclables in the trash container.
“This is why it’s a pilot program. We’re going to see how much trash these schools are absorbing. A win would be that we’re not seeing rats jumping into these bins,” Abreu said. “A win would be that if it works here, it gets replicated everywhere else. We’re shutting off the food supply.”
The other recent big change involves food establishments. As of Aug. 1, all restaurants, bars and bodegas with food were supposed to start using trash cans with secure lids.
The city’s sanitation department told PIX11 News that during the 30-day grace period, it issued 20,184 warnings to places not in compliance. Fines start Friday, Sept. 1. Fines are $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $200 for the third and any additional offenses in a 12-month period.
Jonathan Nadolny, who works at Max SOHA in West Harlem, said he thinks the lids are working.
“I haven’t noticed anything scurrying about at night, so that’s helpful,” Nadolny said.