New York, one of the most populous cities in the world, is suffering from an invasion of rats. Since the summer, several media outlets have talked about how these rodents are weighing down the image of the city’s recovery after the pandemic.
As a measure to try to stop the invasion of these animals, the city authorities have made the decision to modify the garbage collection schedules.
Rats invade New York
The rat problem is getting out of control in New York. From January to September of this year, the number of rats has increased 71% compared to the same period in 2020, according to government figures cited by the New York Daily News.
Calls to the 311 number about rat enlistments have also increased, according to the New York Times.
“It’s obvious that New York has always had rats,” said Marcell Rocha, a Greenwich Village resident, but now “they’re bigger and bolder, and they jump in front of you. They’re gymnasts, they do somersaults.”
In the spring of 2020, this city in the northeastern United States became one of the global hotspots for covid-19. This forced the city to take strict confinement measures. The city that never sleeps, had to rest.
This confinement had an unexpected consequence: the rats began to proliferate and became much more fearful, and even aggressive, according to an alert issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Rodents depend on food and leftovers from these establishments,” the alert said. This has caused them to go out more to the streets to look for food, in addition to committing unusual behavior in the species, such as cannibalism.
Rat complaints initially spiked in 2021. At the time, many blamed their population increase on the outdoor terraces that many restaurants had built amid the pandemic.
At the start of the pandemic, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the “Open Restaurants” program. It was part of a larger vision of a city less dominated by car traffic and more focused on residents and visitors. But above all, it was a lifesaver for the hotel and restaurant industry.
Although restaurants were able to reopen their halls in late 2020, the then-mayor said he wanted to extend the outdoor dining model.
Hours to take out the garbage
In New York, for more than 50 years, the inhabitants have been accustomed to taking out their garbage bags on the sidewalks from 4:00 p.m., regardless of whether it is the rainy season or if it is too hot.
This not only causes a bad image, but it becomes the most conducive space for rats to reproduce.
In order to face the plague of rats. New York Mayor Eric Adams has proposed that residential and commercial trash not be allowed on the streets before 8 p.m., but not after midnight, as current mandates dictate.
If a container with a rat-resistant lid is used, residents can take out their trash two hours early, and businesses that use those containers for their waste can put them out for pickup one hour before business closes.
The current start time of 4pm, among the earliest rubbish removal times for major cities around the world, means waste can sit on the pavement for 14 hours before a sanitation truck shows up. to transport them.
“This will reduce the amount of time trash sits on the street before it is collected, keeping our streets cleaner for a longer period of time and discouraging rodents from having their own version of what we like to say, opening restaurants. Adams said.
Urban environmentalist Michael Parsons told CNN he’s not too confident about the new measures in the face of the city’s latest move to combat growing complaints about trash heaps and rat sightings on New York’s sidewalks.
“A lot of the rodents have mixed feelings about this,” Parsons said of the plan. “On the one hand, we are happy that something is happening. On the other hand, we have argued that it is much better to work on the problem proactively rather than some kind of knee-jerk reaction.”