April 1, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The New York City Sanitation Department (DSNY) is bringing back Sunday basket collection using federal COVID-19 relief money to restore the service.
The city will deploy more than 100 additional Sanitation trucks per week dedicated to litter basket collection– in addition to Sunday service. The city made significant cuts to service in July when it passed the budget at the height of the pandemic.
The de Blasio administration was subject to heavy criticism about overflowing trash soon after the budget cuts went into effect last July– and the city partially restored pickups in September.
With the latest round of funding, litter basket collection service will be up by 61 percent since July, the city said.
The department, as part of its latest initiative, will also release borough-based teams to clean targeted neighborhoods, where litter, illegal dumping and overflowing waste baskets are particularly problematic– as part of a new “precision cleaning” initiative.
“These are targeted, borough-based teams that will go out to address those quality-of-life concerns that we’ve seen…through the pandemic,” Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said at a news briefing this week.
The teams will be dispatched based on DSNY staff observations, 311 complaints and referrals from other city agencies and community groups.
De Blasio also announced a new initiative to support residents and community groups who volunteer to do litter pick-up in their neighborhoods. DSNY will lend tools, trash bags, brooms, dustpans to the volunteers and deliver such tools directly to the volunteers through a new “Community Clean-up Van.”
The DSNY budget had faced a $106 million cut due to the financial crisis triggered by the pandemic, but money from the federal stimulus has since helped to fill that void and bring back services.
Flushing Council Member Peter Koo said the restoration of Sunday litter basket collection is welcome news.
“Last year’s service cuts left our litter baskets overflowing and bags piled up on street corners, especially on the weekends along our busiest commercial corridors,” Koo said in a statement.
“As the weather gets warmer and more people spend their time outdoors, additional Sunday service means cleaner streets and an improved quality of life for all New Yorkers.”