Gjonaj questions the disappearance of DOS litter bins

Gjonaj questions the disappearance of DOS litter bins
An overflowing litter basket in Pelham Bay.
Courtesy of CB10

A very clean neighborhood is dealing with a trashy problem.

Litter bins have been disappearing around the east Bronx recently, 18 to be exact.

NYC Department of Sanitation is admittingly removing these receptacles from busy street corners up around Pelham Bay, Throggs Neck, City Island and Morris Park in addition to other neighborhoods.

A frustrated Community Board 10, district manager Matt Cruz says there was no transparency or open communication between DOS and CB10 about removing the litter bins.

DOS decided to remove these trash bins, not only locally but throughout NYC, because business owners and others are using the cans for commercial and household garbage, contrary to their intended use.

Either of these trash can abuses are punishable by a $100 fine, according to a printed DOS message on the remaining litter baskets.

“I’m disappointed that DOS did not notify us about doing this,” Cruz said. “I fear that removing these cans will only make street pollution worse,” he added.

Cruz went on to explain that in CB10 a majority of litter-related issues come from illegal dumping rather than negligent trash disposal.

“Even when we have issues with people not disposing their garbage properly, its mostly comes from people in cars that throw their stuff out the window,” Cruz said. “I don’t see how removing the bins is going to aid that, all it really does is take away the opportunity for pedestrians to dispose of their litter the right way,” he added.

He also mentioned that CB10 is proud to obtain the department’s highest rating in the Bronx for cleanest community district.

“I am concerned this will downgrade our rating, I don’t think taking these litter bins away will encourage people to hang on to their trash. Honestly it will probably cause more pollution and people will become frustrated,” Cruz said.

A similar initiative was tried at Orchard Beach in June, where NYC Parks removed all trash bins from the shoreline, migrating them to the boardwalk.

Needless to say, that ill-advised plan led to dirty baby diapers floating out into the Long Island Sound.

In response to the city removing these receptacles, Councilman Mark Gjonaj wrote to DOS Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.

“My office has been inundated with constituent complaints regarding trashcans that have been removed throughout the district,” the letter said. I fully understand that the litter baskets can sometimes be misused for household garbage and disposal. But the misuse by a few should not unnecessarily impact the majority of residents that rely on the litter baskets to help maintain clean streets and sidewalks and a decent quality of life for their community,” it continued.

Gjonaj went on to explain that even though this is a small issue of some trash bins, it exemplifies his district not being properly represented and not being given what it should be entitled to.

CB10 and Cruz simply want to advocate for quality of life issues throughout their community in this case of missing litter bins.

“This problem can be easily solved,” Cruz said. “Please just put the cans back.”

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