GUEST OP-ED: Keeping neighborhoods clean takes everyone’s help

We all know the story: Due to citywide budget cuts, theDepartment of Sanitation was forced to reduce the number of trashpickups from as many as twice a day to just four times perweek.

Meanwhile, illegal dumping of household and commercial trash instreet corner litter baskets, combined with the reduced pickupschedule and lack of enforcement to prevent illegal dumping, led tosome very unsightly sidewalks and corners. It was a rarecombination of circumstances which drastically aggravated thesituation.

Thankfully, the Department of Sanitation heard our calls and camearound – agreeing to resume seven-day-a-week basket pick-ups alongThird Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Fort Hamilton Parkwayand 13th Avenue.

But even with this victory, it is still important that we remainvigilant in order to maintain the quality of life which we have allcome to know and love in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach andBensonhurst.

Homeowners and other community residents frequently ask me whatthey can do to help keep our neighborhoods clean. Together, we canstart by encouraging our neighbors to help keep their areas cleanand knowing the rules.

Litter baskets across the city read no household trash along withwarning of a $100 fine for violation. These street corner litterbaskets are designed for use by pedestrians and they are intendedas containers for pedestrian trash such as candy wrappers,cigarette packages, soda cans and similar light refuse. Theselitter baskets are not to be used for the disposal of householdrefuse or sweepings, or for the disposal of commercial refuse bystorekeepers.

Even if we had 20 garbage trucks picking up baskets 20 times a day,dumping household garbage like old appliances, last night’stake-out dinner or stacks of magazines and newspapers would stillcause a problem.

Next week, when I meet with Sanitation Commissioner Doherty, I willthank him for restoring seven-day-a-week pick-ups to our area butassure him that our community knows that the cleanliness of ourneighborhood requires effort on everyone’s part – regardless ofmore or less frequent trash pick-ups.

Vincent Gentile represents the 43rd Council District in BayRidge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Bath Beach.

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