Tuesday, April 9, 2019

City reportedly winning the rat race; the return of rat-friendly trash cans to Tompkins Square Park

[Photo from December by Vinny & O]

The Wall Street Journal provides an update on the city's $32 million effort to reduce its rat population. (The article is behind the paper's paywall.)

A quick takeaway:

And while it is working, city officials said changes in temperature could make it harder to keep the fast-breeding vermin in check. Warmer winters like this season's, which didn't have sustained below-freezing temperatures, increase rat populations.

"You need three weeks of below-freezing weather so they don't come out for food," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin, who oversees the rat-fighting initiative.

Regardless, since the mayor launched his rat-fighting campaign in 2017, information from NYC's 311 service shows that overall rat complaints are down. "Across the city, they fell 7% in 2018 compared with 2017, the biggest reduction in more than a decade," per the Journal.

Anglin gave credit to the use of dry ice instead of poison to suffocate rats from their burrows as well as the installation of those solar-powered Big Belly garbage cans in city parks — including Tompkins Square Park. (Per the article: The 124 parks in rat zones had a 43% reduction in rat burrows.)

Those Big Bellies arrived in and around Tompkins in July 2017. (The Daily News reported at the time that each can costs $7,000.)

While the city is citing success with the Big Bellies, they'd likely have even more (as we've pointed out previously) if the city emptied the trash cans more often — especially on these nice spring days.

[Photo from Sunday morning]

Several EVG readers have also noted that the Parks crew is now using the rat-friendly trash cans again in Tompkins for some reason...

As one reader noted, people tend to use the regular trash cans over a Big Belly given the choice...

[Photos from March 30]


Ending with some fun facts and a rather lyrical quote from Robert Corrigan, a rodentologist who has worked as a consultant for the city. He told the Journal that on some Manhattan blocks, rats likely outnumber people 5 to 1.

"They're in sewers, they're in subways, they’re in parks, they're in people’s ceilings," he said. "It's hard to think of where they are not."


Anonymous said...

Any chance someone could interview folks who pile their trash on already full containers, leave their trash on the ground etc?
What exactly are they thinking?
Doesn't matter?
Don't care?
Not possible to carry that Starbucks cup another block?

BTW many of the folks leaving their garbage are seemingly educated millennials...
Isn't this demographic cohort supposedly concerned about the environment, climate change etc?

Not feeling like it is OK to put all the blame on the city for insufficient garbage pick-up, trash cans...

Constantly incredulous at the garbage that is left and super depressed about the situation as these people know better.

cmarrtyy said...

There are 60 mill tourists a year in the city. The EV is more populated then ever. It's not really about more or better trash cans... it's about pickups. WE'RE BEING OVERWHELMED BY TRASH... then rats. PICK IT UP!

Anonymous said...

@12:14pm: Uh, if we're being overwhelmed by trash, where do you think the trash is originating? Do you think the rats are CREATING it?

No, it's stupid & lazy HUMANS who are dropping their trash in trash cans that are obviously already full (or overfull).

While Sanitation could do a better job, I think the 8 million people who LIVE in this city need to do a better job themselves, by NOT throwing trash around, and by being willing to carry an empty cup or whatever for an extra block until they can put it INTO a trash container, and not on TOP of an already-full container.

This ain't rocket science. My current conclusion is that a lot of NY'ers were either raised by wolves and/or live in a barn. I wonder what their own living rooms look like; are they living ankle-deep in trash inside their homes?

Gojira said...

I wish wolves would stop getting the blame for lousy human behavior - they are attuned to their environment and have a minimal impact upon it.

Emily said...

We could also try to make less trash. Bring your own reusable travel mug. I have yet to have anybody refuse to use that. Keeps your drink hotter/colder, too. Bring reusable bags with you, or keep a plastic bag handy just in case of purchases, too.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that the current "younger" generation - the ones who are furious about climate change and everything else that the "older" generation messed up - would be far more concerned about the impact they have in disposing of trash, etc.

But that doesn't seem to be the case; from what I've observed, the younger generation is largely talking the talk, but not walking the walk when it comes disposing of their trash on public property & in parks.

Scuba Diva said...

@Emily: I've been carrying my own tin, cup, and spork for years; people say, "What a great idea!" That seems to be as far as it goes.

Plastic bags are about to be phased out, and I couldn't be happier. But there's so much people could be doing [if they cared.] Most people feel like: "I'm only one person; I can't make a difference. Look, here's my lunch waste; I'm putting it in the garbage."

I live right near Tompkins, so I'm disgusted by all the garbage I see piled on top of the BigBelly™ compactors and elsewhere. Clearly people aren't going to change; this is like a massive worldwide hurricane party to the end.