When it comes to large cities, finding ways to deal with all of the waste that is generated by its residents is a common program. Unfortunately, it is becoming an increasingly problematic issue in NYC, leaving lawmakers looking for more creative ways to deal with the waste. Here are some steps that are being taken to address waste in both the public and personal forum.
NYC Residents May Soon Have to Pay for Trash Collection
In an effort to reduce waste and to recover costs, elected officials are considering a plan that would require New Yorkers to pay for their residential garbage pickup in a way that charges them based on the amount of trash they generate. While discussions are still in their early stages, the Department of Sanitation is working with a Michigan-based firm to learn more about the possibilities of implementing such a program. The “save as you throw” program is meant to encourage residents to separate recycling and organics from their waste by providing them with financial incentives. Currently, the city’s recycling rate is at about 17 percent, which is about half the rate of major U.S. cities.
While the details are still forming for this plan, it is possible that residents will be required to purchase specific bags to use for general waste. These bags would differ from those that are used for recycling and organic waste. Not only would the program help to reduce the amount of trash the city has to dispose of, but it will hopefully reduce the total amount of waste going into landfills as residents recycle metal, plastic, glass, paper and other organics.
MTA Looks for Solutions to Abundance of Trash
Trash on the tracks of the subway has been an ongoing problem for the MTA to address. Not only is it unattractive, but trash poses a safety hazard that puts many people at risk. In fact, there have been several instances where trash has started a fire on the tracks, sometimes with more than one fire occurring on the same day. In addition to being a safety hazard, these fires lead to long delays that frustrate thousands of people.
The amount of trash that the MTA removes on a daily basis is staggering, with the transit system reportedly removing as much as 40 tons of garbage on a daily basis. In addition, there are more than 3,500 trash cans located throughout the system. The MTA tried to address this problem last year by implementing a program called Operation Track Sweep, which has been rolled out in phases and increases how frequently the stations are cleaned. This program includes a 500-person team dedicated to removing trash from every subway station.
To assist in the cleaning effort, the MTA uses mobile vacuums capable of removing up to 14 cubic yards of trash per day. Since the vacuums were put into use last year, they have helped to remove more than 400 tons of trash. The MTA reports that these efforts have helped to reduce track fires since the beginning of the year, with 75 reported in January compared to 53 in June. Plans are already in motion for larger vacuum trains to be implemented later this year. Until then, the portable versions will continue to be used in Queens and Manhattan.