New York City is finally cleaning up its act.
Beginning Wednesday, the Big Apple is “restoring significant funding” for litter basket collection — after pickup for public trash baskets was reduced by 60 percent last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“It’s time for spring cleaning here in New York City,” de Blasio during a City Hill press briefing.
“This has been an issue we’ve heard about from community members all over the city. Everyone understood we went through a tough, tough time during the [coronavirus] pandemic and resources were tight.”
Last year, City Hall slashed waste basket collection from 736 trash pickup routes run on the average week to just 272 — as officials cut nearly $300 million from the department’s budget.
The latest spending boost will help bring that number back up to about 440.
As part of the partial renewal of services, an additional 100 sanitation trucks per week will be deployed to tackle litter basket pickups, and Sunday pickups will also be restored.
“Sanitation is going to play a crucial role our recovery” from the coronavirus crisis, de Blasio said.
City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Ed Grayson also outlined a new agency program called the “precision cleaning initiative” in which borough-based teams will go out to address “quality-of-life concerns” like illegal dumping “and other eyesore conditions that we’ve seen as we’ve progressed through the pandemic.”
“This new resource, this team will help us be even more nimble as we answer the call for a recovery for everyone,” Grayson said.
Additionally, a “community clean-up van” will be available to neighborhood groups who organize volunteer clean-up efforts.
“This van will be out there, it is a great asset to help deliver tools. We partner with so many local community groups to do clean-ups,” Grayson said, noting that from March 2020 to March 2021, community clean-ups have doubled.
“With this new asset, we’ll be able to do even more of that,” said Grayson.
Assemblywoman Layota Joyner (D-Bronx) and Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) appeared virtually during the mayor’s briefing and touted the litter basket pickup increase.
“In the outer-boroughs, especially in The Bronx,” Joyner said, “many of the communities looked unrecognizable” with the lack of services.
“We received many 311 complaints, calls, emails about the deterioration in the community, trash build up,” Joyner said, explaining, “These critical services are deeply needed and deeply welcomed.”
Brannan added, “A clean and safe community is truly the foundation for everything else.”
“And this is another great sign that the city is coming back strong,” the pol said.