The trash problem in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge has gotten so bad that the neighborhood’s congressman is getting involved — for moral reasons.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) blasted residents who are calling for the removal of corner garbage cans because removing the cans not only doesn’t solve the problem, but creates another problem: teaching children right and wrong.
“Part of raising children is to teach them that if they have some garbage, they should hold it until they get to the corner,” Grimm told us. “But to do that, you need a garbage pail to put it in. I want people to be able to throw out things.”
He also said that better enforcement of existing littering laws can solve the problem.
“Until I hear of an alternative, right now I’m not comfortable saying, ‘Let’s just take away the cans,’ ” he added. “We have to just step up the enforcement on it. On some corners, we may have to put some cameras in. It’s illegal dumping.”
It’s the first time that the freshman congressman has weighed in on the smelly issue that has become a hot button topic in Bay Ridge since the city in 2009 stopped picking up corner trash cans regularly.
To combat the scourge of overflowing litter baskets — which often become clogged with illegally dumped household and commercial trash — the city removed public garbage cans along Fourth Avenue at the request of Community Board 10 to study whether removing them would actually make the area cleaner. Members of the board claimed the bins attracted household trash, became overfilled, and dirtied-up the neighborhood.
And CB 10 members say the program works.
“My goal is to get rid of litter baskets altogether,” environmental board chair Greg Ahl said in June.
That won’t happen if Grimm has anything to do about it. The congressman said that he will soon meet with Department of Sanitation officials to talk about ways to step up enforcement of dumping and to urge the city to keep the cans.
And some community leaders in Dyker Heights back their Republican representative.
“I’m not saying that removing the pails is the greatest thing,” said Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, who pushed in the spring for can removals in her neighborhood. “If we’re not getting the service, it’s the last resort. Something has got to be done. What we really need is more pickups and more enforcement.”