Bags of trash are piling up in front of buildings in some neighborhoods across the city, grabbing the attention of residents like Alejandro Ramirez.
“Nobody’s picking up the trash, I don’t know what’s going on,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez says he’s concerned with the amount of trash that’s been mounting on his block since last week.
“We got about 10 bags piled up, I got some garbage downstairs that I haven’t taken out yet because there’s so many garbage,” he added.
Across the city residents in some areas have watched a similar rise in rubbish on their streets.
They say sanitation pickups have slowed, bags can be seen piled up on sidewalks in neighborhoods from the Bronx to some parts of Staten Island. Many in one Bushwick neighborhood said it’s adding to the rodent problems.
“Big like this,” Ramirez said, depicting the size the rat. They be coming out because I mention like food. If you were to come at night there’s like rats all over the place.”
The sanitation department has acknowledged the increased demand for more service in a statement.
“To help meet service needs, Sanitation Workers are now on 12-hour shifts and will be working Sundays as needed, including this Sunday, to continue our work picking up 12,000 tons of trash and recycling and keeping the streets of New York City safe and clean,” the statement reads.
The department stopped short of giving a reason for the slow downs, but on Thursday Mayor Bill de Blasio said he suspects this issue is linked to the COVID vaccine mandate for city workers.
“Yeah, we’re definitely seeing that problem in some parts of the city and it’s unacceptable. I just want to make it really, really clear: it’s unacceptable. People may not agree with a decision, but this decision is about the health and safety of all New Yorkers,” said de Blasio.
Sanitation workers had a deadline to get vaccinated by 5 p.m. on Friday. If not, come Monday they will be suspended without pay.
“I’ve gotten my two vaccines already, so I was just hoping that it would be good for the workers to get their shots because they’re all over the place,” Ramirez said.
As trash continues to grow, Ramirez says he does what he can to keep the block clean, but is looking to leadership to do their part if pick ups continue to be missed.
“I come here and try to organize outside,” Ramirez said. “The mayor is going to have to decide something else, you can’t have garbage piling up every week you know.”
Ramirez says he’s hoping the threat of income loss leads sanitation workers to get the shot so they have a shot of keeping up with the garbage piles growing in some neighborhoods.