What to Know – NBC New York

New York City unleashed its latest weapon in its ongoing trash — and rat — battle, deploying 200 more sanitation workers to streets as the mayor’s office vows anew to address oft-complained-about blights.

Starting Monday, the city begins directly targeting more than 1,000 identified “no man’s lands” across the five boroughs — zones determined to be neglected and overrun with filth for some time, the apparent results of finger-pointing and back-and-forths over which department’s responsibility it is to clean up the muck (and the rodents that live in it).

Mayor Eric Adams announced last week a $14 investment in his so-called “Get Stuff Clean” initiative, a trash program modeled off his more overarching “Get Stuff Done” effort. According to him, it’s going to be New York City’s largest cleanup project in decades — and four agencies joined with him last week to reveal the multi-faceted approach.

According to Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch, the problems have been building for some time. The intersections and corners referred to by the city as “no man’s land” areas have seen longstanding squabbles within city government over responsibility, she said.

“Fast forward to the 1980s when New York City unwittingly created no man’s lands of its very own through an interagency agreement that was designed to create jurisdictional clarity for cleaning purposes, but that ended up being used for decades to obfuscate responsibility,” Tisch added. “A way for an agency to look at a dirty part of our neighborhood and say, ‘That’s not my job. That’s not my problem.'”

But that kind of hot potato runaround is over, so the city claims, thanks to that $14 million investment, part of which has already been tapped. At least 200 new sanitation workers have been hired and started to hit the streets on Monday. New evening shifts will also focus on “hotspot cleaning” at parks and rat mitigation, the city says.

According to recent government data, rating sightings across the city have increased by 71% since this time in 2020. By the end of September, there were more than 21,000 reports.

Rat complaints initially spiked in 2021, the Daily News reportedwith many blaming the surge on outdoor dining structures built amid the pandemic. But even as some restaurants have reeled in their outdoor sheds, the problem with the vermin has not gone away — in fact, many city residents would agree that it has only gotten worse.

Adams says the city plans to test out a few newly developed tools and tricks to deal with the rat issue. Some of those efforts may involve overhauling the decades-long trash schedule in place across the five boroughs.

Surveillance camera enforcement to prevent illegal dumping is also expected to stepped up.

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