Borough by borough, the city’s sanitation department has been working to pick up trash on street corners, at parks and pretty much anywhere communities say need cleaning.
The department is working with community partners to make it happen in a new program called the Community Cleanup Initiative.
Tuesday, New York City Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson, local leaders, and young volunteers brought out the brooms, pickers and garbage bags and got to work in the South Bronx.
PIX11 cameras were rolling as they rolled up their sleeves and cleaned up.
“We are cleaning up and picking up trash on the streets,” said 11-year old Amanda Montlavo, a student at P.S. 369.
“We saw a lot of cigarettes, bottles and caps,” added another student, Eduardo Flores.
The elementary school students and their teachers wanted to see cleaner streets on their walk to and from school.
“What we have been doing is let all the community groups know…schools, organization, volunteer groups — we will come out and support them with loaning of tools [and] supplies if they would like to organize a community cleanup,” Grayson said.
The new community cleanup initiative comes after COVID-19 related budget cuts and the environmental impact left behind from the pandemic — including trash and used PPE on city streets, sidewalks and along curbs.
“When you look at the pause of the mechanical broom program, that we suspended sweeping streets over 15 weeks in a row and brought it back only one time a week, reduction of litter baskets…it adds to dirty conditions and the perception of cleanliness in the city,” the commissioner added.
But the commissioner says with COVID stimulus funds and a new budget outlook, sanitation workers who have the dirty job of keeping NYC clean will wipe away the trashy trend one neighborhood at a time.
“We really are on the path to recovery,” he said. “We restored some litter basket service, we are doing more restorations and have community based programs going on.”
The sanitation department says members will set up and coordinate with any volunteer or group that would like to do a cleanup or discuss cleaning challenges in the area.
For a link on how you could team up with sanitation workers to clean up your community, click here.
Correction: PIX11 visited students at P.S. 369.