You see it everywhere in Southern Brooklyn; bins overflowing with garbage, trash strewn across the streets and collecting over sewer gutters. It is getting so bad that it is hard to blame people for littering when the alternative consists of trying to balance your coffee cup on a trash pyramid. CBS is reporting that residents in Midwood and Borough Park are up to their ears in trash and are demanding the Department of Sanitation (DOS) to do something about it.
Marilyn Leiman, who has spent 50 years living in Midwood, told CBS that the garbage problem has never been worse:
“I never saw it such a mess. If you walk down Avenue J, it’s just awful. And the other thing that gets me is a lot of tourists come here. They come to eat in the kosher pizza store. They come from Israel; from Los Angeles. And I’m so ashamed that they come here and see what it looks like,” Leiman said.
At the junction of Avenue J and East 14th Street, the trash was spilling far out of its intended receptacle — and was piled up in bags and heaps next to it.
Councilman David Greenfield called out the DOS directly:
Greenfield fired a salvo at the Department of Sanitation, saying several commercial strips in Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst are under-served.
“They’re allowing mounds of trash to pile up in our prime commercial areas,” he said.
Greenfield, who praised Sanitation efforts along residential streets, said commercial strips such as Avenue J, Avenue M and Kings Highway, don’t get the service they need. He provided photos taken over a three-day period. The owner of a bagel shop said he sees the trash mounds.
“All over the place, all over, and in the can for sure, but whatever doesn’t fit they have on the ground,” said the owner, Hershie Oberlander.
The merchants were unsure of the number of pick-ups, but the councilman said there’s only one pickup a week. He protested that Bay Ridge residents not far away get two pickups a week.
Greenfield’s reference to Bay Ridge might have something to do with the recent deal that Councilman Vincent Gentile worked out with the DOS for extra garbage pickups along the neighborhoods busiest streets. Gentile’s deal also covered parts of Bensonhurst.
CBS posted a response from DOS spokesperson Belinda Mager.
But a spokeswoman for the Sanitation Department said trash is actually picked up four times a week in the problem areas.
“Regular collection trucks service the area (Ave J + East 15th Street) on Tuesday and Fridays. In addition, there is a dedicated basket truck servicing the area on Sunday and Monday. Those baskets are serviced four days a week,” Mager said.
Something seems strange in Mager’s response as the deal Gentile struck increased pickups to four days a week. If Gentile’s deal was only for parts of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst and if the deal maxed out at four days a week, how could the DOS be collecting four days a week in an area where no deal has been struck?
Either way, as a response to mounting garbage problem, Greenfield has floated the ideas of placing security cameras near bins to track the amount of pickups and to catch people who illegally dump residential trash in the baskets.