Friday, September 15, 2006

Recycling Down, Rats Up

As the NY Sun and NY Times are reporting today the Mayor's Management Report has some ominous findings when it comes to public health and solid waste. It appears that while the city's rat population has continued to grow and flourish the efforts at getting the rodent epidemic under control have floundered. As the Times points out, "The number of pest control complaints have nearly doubled since the 2002 fiscal year, yet the number of exterminations plummeted 39 percent..."

The administration's response to this glaring reversal sounds particularly lame- Jessica Leighton, the health department's deputy commissioner for environmental health, said officials had adopted a new strategy to 'focus on prevention rather than just dropping bait." Say what?

No mention here as to the prevention strategy the city has adopted. As we have been shrieking at the top of our lungs the one real effective strategy for eliminating rodent infestation is to restrict the food supply. That's why the Alliance has been promoting the use of commercial food waste disposers, precisely because they would get rid of the food source at the city's restaurants and supermarkets.

Instead, the city has implemented Operation Dumpster that, for public health reasons, prevents food outlets from storing food in outdoor containers. So the food is now forced back into the venues that store and prepare food for consumption, a great combination for what Templeton (remember Charlotte's Web?) would call a veritable smorgesbord.

At the same time the Mayor's report lets us know that recycling is down 20%. This is certainly an ominous figure. If you recall the mayor and the speaker of the council heralded the recently agreed to SWMP in spite of the fact that there is no real plan to reduce waste (unless you think the new recycling office will do the trick).

Which leaves the city very short in the waste reduction department. As we have been saying all along the use of food waste disposers, in both the residential as well as commercial sectors, is the one sure methodology that can reduce waste and enhance recycling at the same time. While addressing a major public health issue as well.