STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — On Wednesday the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will restore and increase litter basket collection following a significant decrease during the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic last year.
In 2020, DSNY was hit with more than $100 million in budget cuts, forcing the agency to reduce its litter basket collection across the city by 60 perecent. “We went through a tough time during the pandemic and resources were tight,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said about the cuts.
As a result, the Island’s eWaste curbside pickup program and litter basket pickups were suspended and left the borough with no litter basket trucks.
Minority Leader Steven Matteo was able to secure funding for the Island’s Clean Team and for sanitation crews to restore weekly public litter baskets pickups and other services that were cut.
De Blasio and DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson said the restoration this year will launch over 100 additional trucks per week, as well as the restoration of Sunday collection. On Staten Island, that is an additional four collections per week including one on Sunday, a DSNY spokesperson told the Advance/SILive.com.
“We’re very appreciative of Council members who use their discretionary funding for Sanitation work, but any discretionary funding adds onto that baseline budgeted number. So this will still be a significant increase [for Staten Island] in budgeted service,” the spokesperson said.
Matteo said, “These initiatives are a welcome addition to the extra cleaning, dedicated litter removal and additional litter basket pickups I have funded, along with my colleagues, to help keep our borough as clean and litter free as possible.”
The ability to increase and restore these critical quality of life services is due to stimulus money received by the city from the federal government.
Stimulus money was also used to purchase an additional Community Clean-Up Van, which provides materials like garbage bags, masks and brooms to community-based organizations during community clean-up days.
“This van will be out there; it is a real asset to help deliver tools to local community groups,” Grayson said, adding that from March 2020 to March 2021 DSNY doubled the amount of community clean ups citywide.
Grayson announced the launch of the Precision Cleaning Initiative, a targeted borough-by-borough approach that will launch teams to address eyesore conditions like litter, illegal dumping, litter basket collection and other quality of life issues facing specific neighborhoods.
“We are very, very excited about spring cleaning,” Grayson said.