NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the last few weeks, CBS2 has been showing you all the trash piling up across the city after the sanitation budget was slashed two months ago.
On Tuesday, dozens of community members in Harlem were taking the problem into their own hands.
As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported, you don’t have to look far to see garbage overflowing out of trash bags and bins. She walked with dozens of people who are hoping once they finish cleaning it up, the mess will be gone, and they hope that lasts.
Coach Dave Crenshaw and his team of helpers are cleaning up a mile stretch of Harlem along Frederick Douglass Boulevard from 139th to 123rd.
“It’s needles. It’s broken glass. That’s why we got grabbers. You don’t want them scoop and stuff up with their hands,” Crenshaw said.
The group of young athletes are helping with a new initiative: Harlem Neighborhood Clean Up Day. It’s a weekly event to pick up trash every Tuesday.
“People should take a lot more accountability. We shouldn’t have to be here doing all of this stuff,” said cleanup participant Stanley Reciop.
Walking around, they found piles of food smeared on the sidewalk, cups, books, you name it.
“It’s so dirty the city they make. They don’t clean,” said Harlem resident Eugene Mendez.
To inspire others, the clean teams are posting before and after pictures on social media to show off their results.
“A clean community is a healthy community,” said former Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields.
Fields said it has been a mess since June, when the city cut $106 million from the Sanitation Department’s budget, reducing pickup for public litter basket, with no clear plan on how they’ll keep up on a reduced budget.
“We’re pressuring the city to do its part. We need sanitation pickups. We need trash cans on our corners,” Fields said.
The Wierzbowski family is committed to doing it themselves.
“If we can get kids involved, teach them, and educate them — it starts there,” said Santa Wierzbowski.
They hope that by teaching their kids healthy habits, trash doesn’t end up on the streets in the first place.
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