We Drown In The Garbage?
From Russian Bazaar
4-10 July 2002
By Dimitriy Fastovskiy
Beginning Monday, July 1st, new rules take a hold in
New York regarding the disposal of food, paper, metal, glass, and
plastic. As everyone knows, one of the conditions under which Mayor
Bloomberg said hed approve next years budget was if
trash would no longer be sorted. Residents would have to separate
paper and metal products, as before, but now plastic and glass could
be put along with food by-products.
John Doherty, head of the sanitation department, warned landlords
and private home owners that garbage not sorted according to the
new rules will not be picked up. He similarly remarked that in the
first 60 days of the new rules, offenders would not be fined. Doherty
was obviously not joking, and many New Yorkers were left with a
bitter taste in their mouths. Michael McMahon, Staten Island city
councilman and head of the waste and sanitation committee, expressed
their mood: "New York may be on the border of chaos,"
he said, "neither the mayor nor Mr. Dohertys administration
led any information sessions, which take time." This is certainly
so; Bloomberg decided to voice his decision on sanitation "reform"
through different media outlets. However, not all New Yorkers read
the paper cover-to-cover or listen to news programs. In either case
the Mayors office was obligated to put the new resolutions
in print and send them out, but didnt bother to do so. "The
streets may be lined with garbage," declared Mr. McMahon, "besides,
many bottle collectors will begin to tear open trash bags in search
of glass." This scenario is quite likely, although Bloomberg
does not discuss it. (Still, the mayor had to listen to certain
assertions of McMahons.)
As Bloombergs press secretary Edward Skyler remarked
last weekend, only in the first week, July 1st-7th,
will garbage trucks not pick up improperly sorted trash. After that,
supposedly, they will pick it up, even if there turn out to be containers
of plastic and glass in the bag. In addition, Skylers speech
had so many inconsistencies that it remains a mystery how things
will work out in reality.
Clarification is severely needed for homeowners and landlords.
It would be unpleasant to see mounds of old trash on the streets,
and this is already taking into account "New York cleanliness,"
long ago made legendary. The fact that Bloomberg is thinking of
economics is understandable because the processing of regular garbage
is $65 per ton, while separating glass and plastic costs $110. But
to live covered in garbage up to ones neck doesnt make
anyone smile, no matter what good intentions the mayor uses to justify
Translated from Russian by Nina Kryuk
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