Archive for the tag 'garbage'

deutsch-cleanup

By now, we all know the area has a garbage problem. But it’s time to stop griping and start pitching in to make the community better.

Here’s your chance: Councilman Chaim Deutsch is organizing the first street clean-up Sheepshead Bay has seen at least since Sheepshead Bites launched more than six years ago.

The local pol is providing everything you need to lend a hand: shovels, brooms, rakes and bags. All you need to do is show up in some grubby clothes and put in the work.

The clean up kicks off at 10:00 a.m. and lasts until 4:00 p.m. Volunteers will meet at Sheepshead Bay Road and Voorhies Avenue, and the group will go up and down Sheepshead Bay Road and to Emmons Avenue bagging trash and litter for the Department of Sanitation to pick up.

See the flier above for details.

Source: Cymbrowitz's office

Source: Cymbrowitz’s office

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Trash problems and summer heat are a bad mix, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) says the city needs to do something about the problem now before Sheepshead Bay’s vermin population starts to soar.

In an effort to address quality of life issues throughout his district, the lawmaker took New York City Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo on a tour of Sheepshead Bay yesterday afternoon.

He invited Lupo to his district because many residents have reached out to him about trash throughout the neighborhood. In addition to overall filth in Sheepshead Bay, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz told the superintendent about the overflowing trash bins on Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue, the state of the Sheepshead Bay Road underpasses by the train station and along Shore Parkway, as well as trash along the Emmons Avenue median and Ocean Avenue.

Noting that the beauty of Sheepshead Bay attracts tens of thousands of residents and visitors each year, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has partnered in recent years with the Department of Sanitation in an effort to encourage area merchants along Sheepshead Bay Road to sign up for Adopt-a-Basket, Sanitation’s volunteer program, which would help prevent public garbage cans from overflowing all over our streets.

The legislator also provided multi-modal funding for various beautification projects along the bay side of Emmons Avenue between Ocean Avenue and East 14th Street, which included newly-planted trees, new sidewalks, curb cuts, newly-painted railings, granite pavers, benches and covered trash receptacles. New decorative benches and trash cans recently capped off the much-anticipated project on the west end of Emmons Avenue.

In surveying the community, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and Superintendent Lupo both agreed that immediate action needs to be taken. “While providing an aesthetically pleasing setting will encourage more people to enjoy the stretch of our waterfront, we need to be vigilant in ensuring that our community remains clean,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz.

He said he looks forward to continuing to partner with the Department of Sanitation to address the problem.

bagels

The above photo was taken yesterday on the Emmons Avenue side of the Ocean Avenue footbridge. Captured by reader Andrey G., “Someone dumps bagels and bread into the Bay on industrial scale.”

It’s true, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen this. While many come to the waterfront with fistfuls of crumbs to feed the swans, others have taken it to some pretty severe extremes. It even looks like some businesses may be purposely chucking their end-of-day leftovers into the water, presumably to avoid paying the carting fees to have it properly tossed.

And it’s not just bread and bagels. A few weeks ago we were tipped off to the fact that someone decided to chuck three whole large pizzas in the Bay. It made for quite a sight as they surfed the waves (and unfortunately wasn’t captured on camera).

As you can see, the swans aren’t interested. They get their fill both naturally and from those who toss in crumbs. This is just overkill, and actually incredibly bad for the health of the birds and other wildlife.

In the midst of the fight to protect Sheepshead Bay’s swans, actions like these sure lend an argument to those who’d prefer to see them exterminated. So knock it off, or this will become yet another reason of why we can’t have nice things.

Source: Lisanne Anderson

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association met on Thursday to create a roadmap for tackling the neighborhood’s trash problem, but faced pushback from the Department of Sanitation, which claimed some of their concerns were better addressed to other agencies.

Approximately 50 neighbors gathered at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, located at Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway, to voice concerns to their local government representatives.

Bruno Iciano, the Community Affairs Liaison from the Department of Sanitation spoke first, opening up the floor to concerns from the group about ongoing garbage problems along major corridors, as well as underneath the Brighton Line subway overpasses. The group’s leadership expressed his hope that the department will work closely with the community to improve conditions.

“Our goal is to create a plan to attack all aspects of sanitation,” said Ed Jaworski, the civic association’s president. “It is our hope that grassroots might drive policy.”

Iciano spoke to the audience about several ways that local communities could get involved with neighborhood problems. He spoke highly of the “Adopt-A-Basket” program, the “Sponsor-A-Basket” program, and the Doe Fund. These first two projects would, respectively, allow property owners and individuals to take responsibility over local trash baskets and allow participants to sponsor “high-end” baskets that discourage residents from using them for household trash. The third program would provide local merchants the ability to hire individuals “going through tough times” at a low-cost to help clean up the streets.

The initiatives, though, fell short of satisfying neighbor’s questions, which focused on enforcement:

  • “What do you do with repeat offenders?”
  • “How can we tell if neighbors that get fined actually pay those fines?”
  • “We need to do something about the subway overpasses by the B and Q train on Sheepshead bay. What can you do?”

Not many of these concerns were resolved. Rather, the conversation seemed to resemble a game of hot potato, a diffusion of responsibility by government agencies.

“We’re not responsible for cleaning sidewalks… The overpasses, those are the responsibility of the MTA… You’ll have to call 311,” Iciano said during his presentation.

The MTA, however, sees it differently. Responding to Sheepshead Bites’ questions about maintenance in February, the MTA has previously said that cleaning underpasses and removing hazards like snow and ice are the city’s responsibility, either through the Department of Transportation or the Department of Sanitation.

On preventing sidewalk litter baskets from overflowing, Iciano said they hope to work more closely with residents who live above the storefronts.

“We’re gonna have to do outreach on Avenue U,” he said.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch told the crowd he would work to keep the pressure on the agencies.

“Keeping our communities clean is our main mission. We want people to stay and shop here. We don’t want them to go to other areas,” he said. “We need to educate small business owners. But that isn’t the only step. It’s a process, and I will be holding every city agency accountable.”

Jaworksi noted that he wished the MTA had sent a representative so that both, the MTA and DOS, could take ownership over the sanitation problems surrounding the local train stations.

“I wish someone would make the connection and take responsibility, say, ‘Let’s talk and get this done.’ How long can they keep passing the ball around?” said civic member Kathy Jaworski.

The next Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association meeting will be held Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. inside the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, Fillmore Avenue at Marine Parkway.

The meeting’s focus will be on the search for a long-time solution to persistent sanitation concerns in the neighborhood. Along with local elected officials and 61st Precinct officers, Bruno Iciano, from the Department of Sanitation’s Office of Community Affairs, is slated to attend.

From an email we received:

The civic’s concerns include seeing a plan — covering trash, graffiti, safety, and appearance — developed for: the B/Q subway overpasses from Avenues P to Z; Avenue U from Coney Island Avenue to Stuart Street; and Kings Highway from Coney Island Avenue to Ocean Avenue, among others.

According to Ed Jaworski, the association’s president, “It appears there is a need for a comprehensive effort led by sanitation, and involving police, MTA, DOT, DOB (stalled building sites are dumping grounds), plus education. No one enjoys living or shopping on blocks that suggest blight. We’ve got to get our neighborhoods cleaned up.”

The meeting is free and open to the public; refreshments will be available courtesy of T & D Bank.

For more information, call (718) 375-9158 or email coachedj@aol.com.

garbage

The photo above was taken this morning on Avenue U and East 14th Street.

According to reader Tracy M., it’s indicative of “the appalling state of the neighborhood, post snow. This pic was taken this morning at Ave U and East 14. I could have gone for blocks taking similar pictures.”

We saw Sanitation workers catching up on residential streets this morning, and with the snow they surely have had a lot on their plates these last few weeks. But we’re inclined to agree: there’s no real excuse for what you see above.

construction

A long-standing sidewalk obstacle in front of the derelict Maimonides clinic at 3121 Ocean Avenue is finally being fixed, with contractors on the scene yesterday.

The site was previously a pit covered by a foot-tall concrete slab and surrounded by barricades.

Here’s what it looked like when we passed by in October:

construction2

It was covered in trash and debris, and was long on my to-do list for griping here on this site. It bothered me because it not only attracted garbage and was a fairly horrendous eyesore, but also because it was an obstacle that took up a huge portion of sidewalk. Next door to the site is the Bainbridge Center, an adult daycare facility. So it’s fair to assume the area is pretty highly trafficked by seniors and the disabled.

A contractor on the scene told us it was a telephone utility manhole damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Looking into the pit while they worked, it was deep and empty. While the contractor blamed Sandy, I recall this being a problem spot long before the storm, with the sidewalk broken and raised up. I can’t remember if they began the work before the storm, but I believe they did.

It also bothered me because it was supposed to be fixed nearly a year ago. A sign on the site over the summer indicated it was a ConEd job, not a telephone utility, and work was supposed to be done by February:

construction3

That never happened. Some time in the fall this sign was spray painted so that the construction information could not be read. Covering tracks much? Maybe.

Hopefully they finish the work quickly and responsibly. It’ll be nice for neighbors to have their sidewalk back, instead of covered in construction and trash.

garbage

So this is what I stumbled across on my walk to the coffee shop this morning, a putrid stream of slop and waste stretching a quarter of a block long, and filling the air with rancid scent.

The mess is in front of Chikurin, at 1702 Avenue Z. Unfortunately, I can’t say it’s the first time I’ve seen this. Over the past few weeks, there have been at least three instances of spilled waste, including a full bucket of grease knocked over into the tree bed, poisoning the soil, and creating a foul smell on one of the hottest days of the summer.

All businesses are required to hire their own private carting companies to haul off trash. Some hire better ones than others, and it appears Chikurin’s carter is skirting the strict regulations imposed on them by the Business Integrity Commission that require them to have proper seals and other measures installed on trucks to prevent such spillage.

Sheepshead Bites has had success in the past getting such careless carters fined, such as an incident last year, when a carting company had a broken seal that caused rotting produce and other waste to pour out on East 17th Street near Avenue Y. After surveillance video showing the carting company spill the waste was sent to the commission, they issued several thousands of dollars in fines.

Now we’ve informed the Business Integrity Commission of the latest incident. According to their database, updated quarterly, the carting company responsible is Viking Sanitation. However, a legally required decal on the window at Chikurin indicates only that American By-Products Recyclers is the waste carter – although a phone call to that company confirmed that they only pick up grease and cooking oil, not garbage. Many restaurants have two carters, one for garbage and one for grease, and they’re required to have decals for both. Here’s the lone decal:

carting

The Business Integrity Commission is looking into the matter, and we hope to have an update soon.

Source: Lisanne Anderson

It’s not news to Southern Brooklyn residents that local trash bins have been overflowing with disgusting levels of trash, but now the reason has become a little clearer. The New York Daily News is reporting that the Department of Sanitation (DOS) has significantly reduced enforcement over the past year, issuing less than one quarter of the amount of tickets to residents who illegally dump their home trash in the public bins than in previous years..

The exploding trash problem has gained attention from local politicians like Councilmen Vincent Gentile and David Greenfield. As we previously reported, Gentile recently worked out a deal with the DOS to schedule for more pickups along busy streets in Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst while Greenfield has petitioned the DOS on behalf of Borough Park and Midwood residents as to why the trash problem is spinning out of control.

According to the Daily News report, the DOS has issued 78 percent less tickets for illegal dumping than in the previous year. At June 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year, just 922 tickets for dumping were issued, down from 4,185 issued in 2012.  The DOS blamed the drop on the circumstances of Superstorm Sandy, which forced enforcement agents from their normal patrol and into traffic duty. Greenfield said that the results of less enforcement were evident.

“We are obviously seeing the impact of less enforcement on our dirty commercial strips. It’s quite common to see mounds of garbage on our streetcorners,” Greenfield told the Daily News.

The Daily News described the situation at the DOS:

A Sanitation Department spokesman said there hasn’t been a reduction in staff.

But the union representing sanitation enforcement agents said the number of garbage guards dropped from more than 200 to approximately 160 over the past 12 months.

“We can’t be everywhere,” said Ruth Thomas, vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 1182.

And it’s difficult to bust the illegal dumpers.

Agents or sanit bosses must see scofflaws jam their home garbage into city bins to issue a ticket.

Enforcement agents do occasionally dig through the garbage to find the culprit’s name on tossed mail or magazines. But those offenders are simply given an in-person warning.

Councilman Peter Vallone blamed the problem partly on business owners:

Many of the illegal dumpers include business owners who are trying to avoid paying the city to pick up their commercial garbage, said Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens).

He’s proposed raising the fines to $200. But that bill has stalled in committee.

“This is another example of the Bloomberg administration’s priorities being trash-backwards,” he said, referring to the drop in illegal dumping fines.

Of the 922 tickets issued last year, 243 were issued in Brooklyn.

Garbage

Garbage

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.

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