Anger Remains As Limited NYC Trash Pick-Up Begins
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the first time in more than a week, New York City began picking up the garbage again.
More than 700 sanitation trucks were out picking up some of the mountains of smelly black garbage bags that were piling up ever since the day-after-Christmas blizzard paralyzed the City.
The pick-up, however, was done in a limited fashion. With more than half of the trucks still clearing snow from City streets, between the putrid trash and gray snow, many people have just had enough with the City’s sanitation workers.
“Oh garbage. There’s garbage all over the place. Everywhere you look there’s garbage, and piles, you know,” Washington Heights resident Moises Reyes told CBS 2′s Scott Rapoport.
“In the night time you sometimes see the rats in the garbage. So I wish they’d come and clean it up,” another Washington Heights resident said.
“It’s horrible. I hate coming to New York to see this horrible stuff,” said Anna McDonald of Wayne. “I live in New Jersey, and trust me, it’s much better. The highways are clean.”
“It’s a disgrace. They just concentrate on retiring. They don’t care about, look, it’s a mess, rats everywhere,” said resident Victor Azzura.
“We came through Chinatown and there was definitely a hint of stench there,” said Charles Deeney of the Upper West Side.
Sanitation trucks started to collect garbage dumpsters from some of the larger apartment complexes across the City Sunday and sanitation officials were reminding everyone to both clear a path to the garbage piles and to shovel snow off of them so workers can get to everyone quicker.
“I’m from the Bronx so I get on the trains and I see down here. It’s all the same. Garbage is everywhere,” said resident Arthur Knight.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty says garbage collection won’t be caught up for another week. Recyclables won’t be collected until further notice, but Christmas trees will be picked up.
Other New Yorkers were furious over speculation that hundreds of sanitation workers called out sick during the blizzard to retaliate against the City over cutbacks.
“We’re definitely getting a bad rap,” one worker said. When Magee Hickey mentioned there are reports that there was a sickout, “Not that I am aware of,” he replied.
Hickey asked other sanitation workers if they were getting a bad rap, “I can’t comment on that,” one answered.
Doherty said Monday that while the public obviously doesn’t agree, the workers did everything they should have done.
Doherty says more workers than usual were not at work for their scheduled shifts last Monday. Many were facing snow-related commuting problems themselves. But he says some of them managed to get to work later in the day for a subsequent shift.
“When you go into the outer boroughs, and the sanitation workers have to get those cans or bags of garbage, there’s slippery conditions. They have to watch themselves. And sometimes they have to walk a little farther to get that bag of garbage, so that slows them down. They’re not as productive as they normally are.”
Mayor Bloomberg said sanitation crews had no choice but to let the garbage pile up. “It had to pile up during the week while we were plowing. It’ll take a few days, but in three or four days it should be gone.”
The word from the Sanitation Department is be patient. Since there are only half as many trucks for trash pickup Monday, those black bags that were supposed to be removed may still be there Tuesday.
Bloomberg said the next step will be figuring out what went wrong with the storm cleanup.