NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The MTA is trying to tackle the trash problem in the transit system after garbage caught fire on the tracks, disrupting service for thousands of subway riders this week.

The rush hour track fire in Harlem on Monday sparked a discussion at the top levels of the MTA about how to keep the subway system clean.

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“These fires all start with trash being thrown down there,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said. “Newspapers, as well as coffee cups.”

Track fires are down 90 percent since the 1980s, but when they do happen they can be very disruptive, Lhota said.

“The goal is no fires,” Lhota said.

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The track fire started a discussion about restricting food in the subway.

“There have been a lot of recommendations about what foods are appropriate, what foods are not,” Lhota said, describing his recent experience on a No. 2 train. “Someone got on with a styrofoam thing with Chinese food it looked like and there was a lot of rice and other things. Inevitably the rice fell, it was all over the place. I want to avoid things like that.”

When pressed about whether they’re considering a full ban on food, the chairman said it might be more like an education campaign “about what types of foods really shouldn’t be brought on.”

“We’re evaluating what other transit systems do,” Lhota said.

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There was a massive cleanup of the entire system in May and Lhota said the agency will buy new equipment and clean more frequently.