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Towers of trash may take awhile to remove

January 3, 2011 2:37:09 PM PST
New York City is picking up garbage for the first time since the blizzard a week ago.

Fifty-thousand tons of trash is normally collected during a given week. Not all of it will be picked up on Monday, but officials say trucks are out in force working overtime trying to get all that uncollected trash off the streets.

Sanitation officials say garbage normally collected on Mondays is now being picked up. Tuesday's pick up will take place as normal as well, but officials are hoping to start making return trips before the end of the week.

"We expect to run around 11-hundred trucks. That's slightly above what we normally run on a Monday, but we're working a ten hour day so we hope to be a little more productive. Some slippery footing and some garbage that may be on the mounds or behind the ridges of snow might be difficult to get at," Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.

A sanitation crew has never been so appreciated as it slowly knocked down a truck load of trash on East 34th street. The trash had littered the sidewalk, and the sight and smell had residents on edge.

"It is so disgraceful New York has to be like this," Denise Baum said.

One apartment building has not seen trash collection since Christmas, so the superintendent put his staff to work to help collect the garbage.

But all around the city mountains of trash are mounting. As the city sanitation department is wrapping up its snow removal operations, New Yorkers are just trying to grin and bear their putrid reality.

"I'm smelling garbage. You're talking garbage, but I'm smelling it," one resident said.

Recycled trash won't be collected until sometime next week, but Christmas trees will be picked up.

While New Yorkers put up with the sight and smell of trash littered in their neighborhoods, city leaders will figure out what went wrong with the storm cleanup.

"I don't know that we necessary did anything wrong. We had our plans that we've used and been successful with in the past. We got our personnel in even though the severe warnings came late Christmas day. I don't see anything wrong. Our biggest problem was the conditions we were faced with," Doherty said.

Some residents agree.

"I think they're trying their best. It's not their fault that they couldn't get it." Tom Wilmot said. "I live on the Lower East Side (and) it's pretty bad, but again it's a foot a snow. Not much you can do about that."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked at a schools event Monday whether budget cuts had an impact on snow removal. The mayor says the city used the same number of workers as in previous storms.

The Christmas weekend blizzard dumped 20 inches of snow on New York City.

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