Can-Can’t! City set to remove public trash bins

The Brooklyn Paper
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If you can’t keep ’em clean — trash ’em!

The city is about to pull trash cans from non-commercial streets in Midwood and Flatbush that routinely overflow with a mix of pedestrian and household trash, a decision that some think could exacerbate the filthy problem rather than fix it.

“It will make things worse,” predicted E. 10th Street resident Donald Loggins, who fears that fewer cans will just mean more trash for the already overburdened receptacles along commercial strips such as Coney Island Avenue. “The trash isn’t going to go away. People will find other cans to dump their trash.”

Dumping household trash in the receptacles is a crime punishable by a $100 fine, but some residents still choose to do it — with many dumping items mixed with trash they would otherwise have to recycle.

Add that to the fact that the city has cut down on pick-ups of public cans borough wide, and a mess seems destined to build up.

With that in mind, the city is hammering out the Midwood-Flatbush initiative that would pull the pails with Community Board 14, which has offered its cautious support.

“The board would consider reluctantly supporting the removal of particular litter baskets in non-commercial areas in order to improve the cleanliness of those streets,” said Jonathan Judge, the board’s community coordinator.

Judge stressed that the agency has yet to finalize exact locations where cans will be removed, but insured they wouldn’t be removed from heavily trafficked areas.

“We are not talking about Flatbush and Church avenue,” he said.

Wherever the cans are removed, South Midwood resident Robert Newman said his dog will not be happy.

“Pedestrians frequently drop their bags of half-eaten McDonald’s on the curb. My dog enjoys that greatly,” he said. “But if I did not have a dog and was an ordinary citizen, I would be in support of the bins being properly maintained and Sanitation serving them regularly so that they don’t overflow.”

Those who would like to see the cans used properly say there is another answer to the problem: use the latest technology to catch can creeps.

“They should put cameras near the pails to catch people,” said Richard Silverman, president of the South Midwood Residents Association. “The city should have a much more vigorous enforcement in this part of Brooklyn.”

But Silverman thinks can removal should not be an option.

“It is a disgrace and it leads to vermin.”

If history is a guide, canning the bins might actually improve neighborhood cleanliness.

In Bensonhurt, cans were removed from select corners, and the community board there told this paper that basketless areas are cleaner than ever.

At press time, Sanitation officials did not return a call for comment.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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