HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — Community members in Harlem on Thursday called for cleaner streets around New York City public schools and asked the Department of Education to follow the same rules enforced in their neighborhood.

Organics, recycling, and garbage cans may be placed on the curb after 4 p.m. the evening before collection. However, this means that piles of waste may linger for up to 14 hours, including during the evening rush hour.

The City Council recently approved a package of rat mitigation legislation that would shorten the time that waste is left on the street. Residential and commercial establishments located in so-called rat mitigation zones may put garbage outside in a lockable container after 6 p.m. beginning in April 2023. The trash in black bags can only be disposed of after 8 p.m. According to the DSNY, bundled cardboard that rats are not attracted to may be positioned close to the container.

City Council Member Shaun Abreau, of District 7, said the legal question is if these rules apply to New York City Public Schools. Abreu said the onus is on the DOE to provide containers, but the schools are strapped for cash. Schools in Hamilton Heights and West Harlem have garbage buildup that sits on the street — and rats feast.

The Department of Sanitation stated to PIX11 News:

Every New Yorker deserves a clean street in every part of the City. Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch visited this location with community members less than two weeks ago, and it is clear that this neighborhood needs better and more innovative trash management solutions. We are working with DOE and with Councilmember Abreu to put a plan into action.