1st April 2023
On March 27, in a bold move to take down New York City’s furry foes, Mayor Eric Adams unleashed a composting mandate aimed at annihilating the city’s rat population.
First to feel the rat-fighting wrath of the mandate is Queens, where residents will receive a three-month crash course in waste management and organic separation. From food waste to leaf litter, New Yorkers will be tasked with stripping their yards of all plant-based remains that rodents find so tantalizing.
The city’s battle plan will be rolled out to other boroughs in due course. Brooklyn will join the frontlines in October, with the Bronx and Staten Island following in March 2024. Finally, Manhattan will get in on the action with a gradual deployment in October 2024.
The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) revealed that a staggering 34 percent of the city’s waste – including food scraps, soiled packaging, and yard waste – acts as a siren call to rodents, exacerbating the city’s sanitation woes.
The environmental implications are dire. Organic waste, when trapped beneath layers of landfill, releases potent methane gas – a greenhouse gas far more destructive than carbon dioxide. Shockingly, methane emissions account for four percent of the city’s greenhouse gases.
DSNY revealed that four percent of New York City’s greenhouse gases are entirely methane emissions.
“Diverting organic waste from the refuse stream can fight rats, divert waste from landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create beneficial products that enliven our parks and gardens or power homes with renewable energy,” DSNY explained.
Mayor Adams’ tenure has witnessed various waste management laws supporting sustainability efforts. In a recent move, he bolstered the city’s composting program with a whopping $45 million, enabling voluntary curbside composting. This pilot program triumphantly collected over 12.7 million pounds of organic waste in Queens alone.
“By reducing the food waste that we put into trash bags, our streets will look better, smell better, and best of all, will be dealing a blow to New York City’s number one enemy: rats,” Mayor Adams said.
Battle for New York City
New York City’s rat problem has surged since the start of COVID-19 lockdowns, with rodent activity doubling between 2021 and 2022. Previous composting programs aimed at curbing infestations were scrapped due to pandemic-related budget restrictions.
Mayor Adams’ anti-rat arsenal ranges from environmentally-conscious policies to more extreme measures – like the appointment of a “director of rodent mitigation.” This fierce new role seeks a “somewhat bloodthirsty” candidate eager to spearhead the wholesale slaughter of the city’s vermin.
The city’s previous composting programs in 2020 aimed to help with the infestation, but they were later cut due to budget restrictions caused by the pandemic.
“I hate rats, and we have too many of them and we have to get rid of them,” Mayor Adams said, highlighting the need for improved waste management to combat the city’s rodent-related outbreaks and diseases.