Waste containment to play a key role in NYC rat reduction plan
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a US$32 million, multi-agency plan to reduce the city’s rat population, targeting the three most infested parts of city: the Grand Concourse area, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant. The integrated pest management approach aims to reduce rat activity by up to 70% in the targeted zones by minimising food sources and available habitats.
As part of the plan, the City has purchased 336 Bigbelly solar compactors that restrict access to rubbish with a ‘mailbox’ opening. The compactors have already resulted in rat reductions of up to 90% when fully deployed in concentrated areas. The City will also replace all the remaining wire waste baskets in the zones with 1676 steel cans — both in parks and on street corners — which should meaningfully reduce rats’ access to food sources compared to current wire baskets.
Other initiatives include cementing dirt basements, increasing rubbish pickup and increasing enforcement of rat-related violations in the target areas. All aspects of the plan will be launched by the end of 2017.
The plan was announced just one month after Brooklyn resident Leigh Conner uploaded a YouTube video titled ‘Pizza rat strikes again!’, which showcases a large rat dragging a bag of garbage several times its size across the footpath in broad daylight, before removing a discarded pizza from the bag and scurrying away.