The heart of Bay Ridge is clogged with garbage — and locals are blaming the Department of Sanitation.
Ground zero in the city’s war on trash are busy corners of 86th Street and Bay Ridge Avenue and Fourth Avenue, where the litter problem had gotten so acute last year that Community Board 10 actually asked the city to remove street trash bins to discourage residents from disposing of their household trash at corner receptacles.
Instead, said CB10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, the Sanitation Department added a second garbage can at each of the intersections’ corners — then cut trash pickups by 60 percent.
As a result, the new garbage cans are overflowing as badly as the former ones.
“There’s definitely a lot of garbage,” said Greg Ahl, the chairman of CB10’s Sanitation Committee, who said the new cans have become the predicted magnet for residential trash.
“That’s what I saw,” Ahl added. “Like Sanitation always says, it’s about 80 percent residential garbage rather than litter.”
CB10 had voted to recommend a trial removal of the trash cans at the intersections at its February meeting, citing the quantity of household trash in the receptacles.
A key factor in the recommendation was a report by Ahl to the effect that the three-week disappearance of a can at the Bay Ridge Avenue and Fourth Avenue intersection had resulted in a lack of garbage accumulation at the corner.
But once the can returned, so did the trash.
“It’s a high-traffic area,” said Beckmann, who stressed that some “residents are concerned because the pails are overflowing with residential garbage.”
The main problem, said Ahl, is that Sanitation cut pickups by 60 percent because of budget constraints. Without pickups on Saturdays and Sundays, the cans are overflowing on Monday mornings before the trash trucks roll in.
A Sanitation spokeswoman, Kathy Dawkins, said that the agency is aware of the problem.
“We are working with Community Board 10 regarding its proposal [to remove the cans entirely],” said Dawkins. “We evaluating the situation and is testing a variety of methods to resolve the problem, including enforcement. Litter baskets are not receptacles for household trash but are designed for use by pedestrians to dispose of candy wrappers, cigarette packages, fruit skins and other light refuse.”
This isn’t the first time that a southern Brooklyn neighborhood has pondered whether the trash comes before the can.
Bensonhurst’s community board has removed public trashcans from many locations because of complaints of overflowing trash.
Is it cleaner without the cans?
“Absolutely,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia, the community board’s district manager. “The corners that don’t have baskets are cleaner.”
In Bay Ridge, residents were unsure whether removing the cans, or adding more, is the way to go.
“If you put 60 cans there, it will still be a mess,” said Diane Hunt, who lived nearby for 44 years, and wants to see the cans removed. “People throw their household trash in them.”
Ovington Avenue resident Jeanette Correa disagreed.
“Taking the cans away is totally not a good idea,” she said. “There’s a lot of garbage because we have a lot of people from the subway walking around. I think we need more cans. They really fill up fast, and the garbage is all over the street.”