United States – New York wants to starve its rats, historic plague

The Big Apple will introduce several measures to drastically reduce the population of its rodents.

Archives/Photo d’illustration, AFP

Depriving rats of food is the goal of New York City, which on Wednesday announced a plan for three particularly affected neighborhoods targeting garbage management, the main source of food for millions of New York rodents.

Present in the port city since the middle of the 18th century, rats are estimated to be around two million in New York, according to a study published in 2014 by a doctoral student at Columbia University.

The town hall will release $ 32 million for this new plan, focused on the three most infested neighborhoods, namely Grand Concourse Avenue in the Bronx, an area encompassing Chinatown, the East Village and the Lower East Side in Manhattan, and the two neighborhoods of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant northwest of Brooklyn.

A “four-star café”

It is above all about rethinking the management of garbage which is a major source of the proliferation of rats in the American financial capital. Shops, restaurants, offices or residences leave thousands of trash bags on the sidewalk every day for several hours.

While the pick-up is usually done from 6 a.m., the law allows bags to be left in front of buildings as early as 4 p.m. the day before, offering a “four-star coffee” to rodents on the sidewalk, explained the head of services. cleanliness of the city, Kathryn Garcia.

With the new plan, a decree will be submitted to the city council requiring buildings with at least 10 apartments to wait 4 hours to take out their garbage. In the most affected areas, the frequency of garbage collection will be increased, especially in public gardens where rats often find refuge.

Concrete cellars

The town hall will also install in the streets, as of this week, 336 closed metal bins, inaccessible to rats, “intelligent” machines which gradually compact the garbage to save space.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted at a press conference that rats were associated with the image of the city, and that the situation had “not been handled well enough so far”. Another measure: the city is going to concrete the cellars of 11 HLM residences in the targeted neighborhoods. Their soil is now earth, facilitating the passage of rats.

In 2016, New York City recorded 31,362 complaints about rats. For Bill de Blasio, the plan, which aims to reduce the rat population by 70% in the three neighborhoods concerned, “could serve”, in the longer term, “as a model for something much larger”.


Posted: 07/12/2017, 8:17 p.m.

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