Bensonhurst board says get rid of corner litter baskets

Bensonhurst residents are fearing mountains of garbage on the street if a local panel succeeds in getting the city to remove all the corner litter baskets in the neighborhood.

Community Board 11 voted unanimously on Thursday to pull all public garbage cans from the street after learning that the city had severely reduced collection times.

“Removing the baskets won’t make the streets any worse,” said CB11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia. “They’ve never been as dirty as they are today. With summer here the baskets already are starting to stink and draw rodents.”

Elias-Pavia explained that corner litter baskets are intended for the garbage of passersby, such as candy wrappers and fast food bags, but have become a dumping ground for household trash.

“These litter baskets have become magnets for residential garbage from people’s homes,” she said. “Then, when the garbage overflows and it becomes the responsibility of the property owner or the storekeeper.”

Elias-Pavia said without litter baskets, residents would be forced to throw household trash in their cans for the regular twice-a-week pickups.

But residents and business owners say getting rid of the corner litter baskets is inviting disaster.

“There’s a bus stop in front of my store and if someone has an empty pack of cigarettes or a soda in their hand, they will throw it on the street and the store will get a ticket,” said resident Robert Scagilione, who also owns Century 21 Sav-A-Lot Realty on Kings Highway between West Third and West Fourth streets.

“We don’t want the streets to look like a pigsty.”

One resident offered a solution to the problem that wouldn’t require removing the baskets.

“They need to post notices on the light poles warning residents they will face tickets for throwing household garbage in the litter baskets, and then have better enforcement,” said Mimma Careri, owner of Italia Pizza on the corner on Kings Highway and West Sixth Street.

Department of Sanitation spokesperson Kathy Dawkins said the agency has not received a written formal request to remove the litter baskets from Community Board 11, yet.

“Once the Department receives a formal request, it will be reviewed and evaluated,” she said.