The city, along with New York City Transit, recently ramped up their anti-rat campaign along New Utrecht Avenue. Unfortunately, one simple preventative measure that could put a permanent end to the rat problem is currently being ignored.
Plastic mesh has been installed around the now-infamous exposed pillars that hold up the elevated subway tracks above. City contractors have been instructed to clean around the columns, which were excavated as part of ongoing rehabilitation work, and Sanitation Department officials have been asked to increase the frequency of street cleanings.
The new extermination effort comes after complaints from residents have begun to garner more publicity, with at least one fed up homeowner bringing up the matter at a meeting of Community Board 11.
When CB11 district manager Marnee Ellias Pavia went to see the situation for herself, a rat reportedly ran over her foot.
Despite renewed efforts, including getting the word out about littering, the problem persists.
In this blogger’s non-expert opinion, an exterminator quoted in Brooklyn Daily seemed to have the right idea. As long as plastic garbage bags are being left directly on the sidewalk by restaurants, schools, community centers – basically any place with a lot of food waste, including private residences and apartment buildings – there will be critters.
It’s not rocket science – If businesses and homes were required to use garbage cans and dumpsters for their waste, table scraps would be more difficult to access, cutting off the rats’ food source.
How many times have you walked past trash bags on your block that had been ripped open the night before by cats and/or rodents, leaving bones and decomposing leftovers scattered all over, or skeeved the leak-stained sidewalk in front of a school?
The problem becomes a blame game between those putting out the garbage, such as building superintendents who may have limited time, and sanitation workers, who may not have the tools they need – such as power washers, or even brooms.
While the current infestation on New Utrecht Avenue will most likely lessen as people are more careful and construction is completed, the overall rat problem will continue to worsen in a city where systematic dysfunction is simply swept under the rug.