NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The unofficial mascot of New York City is no longer welcome.
Mayor Eric Adams signed legislation known as the 'Rat Action Plan' at the sanitation department in SoHo Friday as the next step in eradicating the residential rodents.
The bills will require the health department to issue an annual public report on rat mitigation efforts.
"Today I'm proud to sign four bills to help create a cleaner and more welcoming city for New Yorkers," Adams said. "Last month, I announced a once-in-a-generation change to reduce the amount of time black bags sit on the curb and just last week we announced our 'Get Stuff Clean' initiative. This legislation doubles down on our efforts and is another important step to put a dent in our rodent population. Rat-free streets are vital to vibrant neighborhoods and our city's economic recovery, and I thank the City Council for their partnership in keeping our city squeaky clean."
Eyewitness News asked Adams if he has personal experience with the rodents.
"Yes, far too many, when I purchased my home, I had a real rat infestation," Adams said. "We removed and killed 79 rats when I purchased my house to do a renovation. Brooklyn Borough Hall, we put devices, the rat traps around Brooklyn Borough Hall. We collected 96 rats. Now, people demonized me back then. If you look at all the stories, people were saying, 'Why you killing those poor little creatures?' But I think every New Yorker can tell you their rat story. If you walk down the block and a rat runs across your foot, you never forget it. Every time you walk down that block, you relive that. If you see a rat in your home, you never feel comfortable in that room in your house again. For whatever reason, I don't know what it is, rats do something to traumatize you and you never live through it. And I hate rats."
Buildings deemed to have rat problems would need to use special rodent-proof garbage bins and new large construction projects will need to staff an exterminator.
"What we're trying to do is shut down the all-night, all-you-can-eat rat buffet," Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch said.
The city says rat sightings are up 142% since before the pandemic.
"People are not going to want to live here, they're not going to want to work here or visit her if they're seeing rats all the time," New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher said.
This new series of bills is part of a larger sanitation department plan to make the city cleaner.
Meanwhile, there are two other pilot rat mitigation programs being implemented. Starting next year, 8 p.m. will be the new time residential and commercial garbage can be placed on the curb, reducing the length of time rats can feast on trash.
And then there's the Clean Curb program, which places rodent-proof bins in test locations in all five boroughs.
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