Mayor Adams ramps up war on trash, rats in NYC; commends Gray's Papaya for efforts

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
NYC announces new trash rule for all businesses to combat rats
With New York City seeing a 20% decline in rat sightings this summer, city officials are moving forward with the war on rats by proposing new trash rules for businesses. Anthony Ca

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- New York City officials announced the next phase of the city's war on rats -- a new rule for businesses that will go into effect next year.

Starting March 2024, all businesses in the city will be required to place their trash in containers. They estimate that will get 20 million pounds of trash off of city streets each day.

Mayor Eric Adams held a press conference Tuesday outside a popular restaurant to talk about trash and cleaning up city sidewalks.

Adams says Gray's Papaya on the Upper West Side has been a model citizen. They embraced the city's plan to contain trash inside plastic trashcans with lids back in August.

Since July of this year, all food-related businesses - including restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, delis, and bodegas, among others - have been required to containerize their waste. On September 5, the rule expanded to cover all chain businesses with five or more locations in the city, regardless of what they sell.

And starting next spring, the rule will apply to all businesses -- not just food establishments and chain stores.

The goal of the rule is to stop rats from gnawing through plastic trash bags and leaving garbage spilled all over city streets.

DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch was also on hand Tuesday to applaud Gray's Papaya's efforts to help keep the city looking its best and reduce the rat population.

The Sanitation Department was so happy with the restaurant's efforts that they declared September 7 "Gray's Papaya Day."

The proposed timeline for the new rule announced Tuesday gives businesses nearly six months before it takes effect.

"We've declared that rats are Public Enemy Number One - but we're not stopping there; we're also going after the black trash bags that litter our streets, aiding and abetting rodents," said Mayor Adams. "That's why, starting next spring, we're requiring every New York City business to put out their trash in containers. That's 20 million pounds of black bags and rat buffets off our streets - every single day. Our streets will look cleaner and smell cleaner across all five boroughs, and New Yorkers won't have to dodge trash mountains or scurrying rats as they're walking."

Once the rule takes effect next year, it will get about half of all trash in the five boroughs off the street. The other half is residential garbage.

"The notion that the greatest city in the world could not move its trash into wheelie bins was always patently absurd. But that's the type of thinking that allowed the rats to thrive and our streets to reek for over 50 years," said DSNY Commissioner Tisch. "In less than one year since the effort began, the Adams administration will have moved half of all of New York City's trash - nearly 20 million pounds a day - from black bags into bins. And we're going hard after the rest. Stay tuned."

According to 311 data, rat sightings are down 6% citywide year to date. Rat mitigation programs in targeted areas have seen the following results:

-10025 Manhattan Valley, highest zip code in the Harlem Zone. A 38% decrease in rat sightings YTD.

-11216 Bedford Stuyvesant highest zip code in the Brooklyn Zone. A 11% decrease YTD.

-10452 Highbridge, highest zip code in the Grand Concourse Zone. A 39% decrease YTD.

-10009 East Village, highest zip code in the Lower Manhattan Zone. A 35% decrease YTD.

Anthony Carlo reports from the Upper West Side on the mayor and sanitation commissioner's announcement regarding trash containers and rats.

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