The three new initiatives focus on equitable city recovery, community engagement, and improving the quality of life of New York City. On March 30, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation announced three new initiatives to better maintain clean New York City streets. The three initiatives include the Dedicated Litter Basket Service, the Precision Cleaning Initiative, and the Community Clean-up Van.
The first initiative includes an increase in dedicated litter basket service. One hundred more trucks per week are to be dedicated to the work. Funding will also be restored to the Sunday litter basket service. Dedicated litter basket collection service is projected to have an increase of 61 percent from last July at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis.
The second initiative creates an all-new Precision Cleaning Initiative. The focus of the initiative is to conduct targeted cleanings of litter, illegal dumping, and overflowing litter baskets. The initiative will help beautify the five boroughs and help rid the litter that threaten New York City’s quality of life and recovery. The Precision Cleaning Initiative will work through the use of borough-based teams of individuals. Borough-based teams will be sent out based on the Department of Sanitation’s field observations, 311 calls and complaints, and referrals from other City agencies and various local community groups.
The third initiative is the Community Clean-up Van. The Department of Sanitation announced the design for the van at the announcement. The van will provide support, additional tools, and resources for local community groups performing cleanups across New York City as a part of the Citywide Spring Cleanup effort. The initiative will be in partnership with the Sanitation Foundation and the New York City Service.
The three new initiatives build off of previous resources and programs that were launched in September to provide cleaning resources to neighborhoods affected by COVID-19. The new initiatives also come as a part of the City’s increased engagement in equity-based recovery. Local communities will work directly with the Department of Sanitation in order to produce cleaner and healthier streets for all New York City Residents.
New York residents that are interested in joining or hosting a community cleanup can call the phone number 311 for more information.
Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “A recovery for all of us means a healthy city, and that requires a clean city. I’ve seen first-hand the work of the Department of Sanitation throughout this pandemic, and I know they’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. ”
Edward Grayson, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation stated, “Restoration of baseline funding for basket service, the community clean-up van, and PCI mean more ways for Sanitation and our neighbors across the City to work together. Use litter baskets properly, for small items like coffee cups – never for household or business trash – and call us to report an urgent issue or schedule a community clean-up.”
Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin stated, “Open space, including on our streets, has become more critical than ever during the pandemic. With these initiatives we are ensuring our streets are cleaner and more welcoming for all. Department of Sanitation workers have been heroes throughout this crisis and now they’ll help lead the way to recovery.”
Borough President James S. Oddo stated, “Litter begets more litter. The sad reality is people are more inclined to litter when they see litter around them. We simply need to remove as much of it from our streets and communities as we can. And as we are doing that, we need to educate and inspire New Yorkers to work with us to keep our city as litter-free as possible.”
By: Patrick McNeill (Patrick is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)