• BREAKING NEWS Shelter in place lifted after prisoner captured
  • BREAKING NEWS NYPD officer struck by vehicle during foot pursuit

City workers continue to tackle trash cleanup

January 4, 2011 3:19:14 PM PST
The dirty problem plaguing the city since the blizzard is still piled up on city sidewalks

Sanitation crews are working to clear all the bags of trash, and many are hoping it's sooner rather than later for fear rats will become an even bigger problem.

To tackle never-ending piles of garbage you have to be the city's strongest. And if you think city sanitation workers heard an earful from passersby, they have. But it's not all bad.

"Believe it or not, we have a lot more people who are appreciative. They walk down the street and they see a lot of garbage, they say thank you," worker Aaron Pattishaw said.

Over in Williamsburg, building supers bring the garbage out for the sanitation crews. If they don't show, they bring it all back in to keep the sidewalks clean. Of course, that leads to another problem.

"I haven't seen any garbage trucks, but I'll tell you what I have seen. I have seen a bunch of rats. A lot of rats, especially in the basement," superintendent Tim Wilson said.

From Brooklyn we rolled into Queens. Along Steinway Street's commercial district to the neighboring residential streets, the garbage piles weren't high - just numerous.

"Well, they throw their garbage like cups and bottles outside. Someone has to clean, take for these things," business owner Mohammad Nomee said.

"I don't know where they are. They just disappeared. I mean they did a good job removing the snow, but they should be out here picking up something," John Trintafillides said.

Outside the residential high-rises of Sunnyside, it's an obstacle course to navigate around the piles of trash, which have a magnetic attraction to kids.

"All they want to do is explore, which is terrible and full of germs. You know, it's just hard," Samantha Felixbrod said.

Trash pick-up resumed Monday for the first time since the blizzard hit, with crews starting the daunting task of collecting an estimated 50,000 tons of garbage. Doherty says the sanitation department deployed 1,100 trucks, which is about 100 more than on a typical Monday.

"We want to try to give everybody at least one service, hopefully two services this week," Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.

Doherty is also defending his workers' widely-criticized performance in clearing the mounds of snow after the storm.

"From my point of view, they did an A-plus," he said. "From the public's point of view, we did probably a C-minus. There's no question about it. But the men and women worked very hard, and I can't take anything away from them. I never got the sense there was any type of slowdown."

And now that most of the snow is gone, some New Yorkers seem less concerned with figuring that out. They just want the garbage gone as well.

"They're trying their best, it's not really their fault," one resident said. "Now that the snow has melted, it's nice for them to get out here and do their jobs."

One City Councilman said if too much garbage piles up on city streets for too long, the likelihood of rats and health issues will increase with each passing day. And if these problems occur, those who thought snow pileup was problematic will have seen nothing yet.

---
Do you have something to add to this story? Click here to contact Eyewitness News.


Load Comments