Waste must come first

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By: Rita Joseph, District 40 City Council Candidate

If you meet two New Yorkers, you’re sure to hear at least three opinions from them. We are an opinionated group with diverse beliefs, but there is one thing we can all agree on: stinks.

However, some of our current political leaders seem to have forgotten the lessons of the city’s failure to give the New York City Sanitation Department the respect and funding it deserved, resulting in massive strike.

Because of this leadership failure, there is too much garbage on the streets. This result is not surprising, as the budget of the Sanitation Directorate has been reduced by $ 106 million Last year. We need a sanitation service that is adequately funded and fully staffed. The current staff work hard and need help.

As a private citizen, I do my part to back up my words with deeds. I participate in community cleanups regularly to try to compensate for the fact that our hard working sanitation workers are not receiving the resources they need to do their jobs to their full potential. As a member of the Council, I will insist that the budget of the sanitation department reflect the urgency of clean streets and timely garbage collection.

In the meantime, my staff and I will clean the streets ourselves if necessary, because not only does poor public sanitation look and smell bad, it is actively dangerous for our health. Clean streets are a serious public health issue, and as we approach the end of this terrible pandemic, we shouldn’t need another reminder on the importance of protecting public health.

When I am on the campaign trail and talking with my neighbors in District 40, one of the most common complaints I hear is that our streets are constantly dirty. As a council member, I will make sure that we have enough resources for the sanitation department so that it can meet the demands of the city. I am proud to support International 2273-2021, which would require the installation of at least 1,000 modern, environmentally friendly and covered garbage cans in New York City.

I pledge to use some of my office’s discretionary funding to invest in the Sanitation Department’s efforts in District 40, where our community has been neglected for too long. In addition, I will not vote for a budget that does not give the Ministry of Sanitation the funding it deserves. I am committed to ensuring that we invest in the infrastructure necessary for a clean and livable city, not only for now but also for the future. We need electric garbage trucks and facilities that can sort and process waste in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.

These investments will not be free, but they will pay off many times over when we have a cleaner, healthier and more environmentally friendly city. All the jobs created will be New York jobs; the money will stay in the city’s economy.

We need these investments now. It is not a question of returning to the levels before the pandemic, because the total weight of the waste collected increased, not decreased, from pre-pandemic levels. We have the choice between investing in jobs and infrastructure to keep our streets clear and clean or doing nothing, between doing the obvious or watching our families get sick, and between breathing fresh air or having a residual odor of rot stuck in the nose, clothes and houses.

This is not a choice at all – our only option is to work aggressively to ensure that our streets are cleaned. The consequences of not taking action to adequately fund and endow the Sanitation Department are simply unacceptable. There are no shortcuts or quick and easy fixes; we just need to fund this vital service.

The local government of the biggest city in the world should be able to manage the bases. Few things are as fundamental to our well-being as not having litter piling up in our streets. Let’s take the trash out of our streets so our kids can play outside without dodging the mounds of trash bags, overflowing with multi-day old pizza boxes and buzzing with flies.

As a mother and teacher, I know how important it is to live in a city where our children and students can live without being encumbered by rotting garbage and giant rats. As the next city council member, I will fight to help our hard-working, understaffed and overworked sanitation workers keep our city clean. Vote Rita Joseph for the city council.


Rita Joseph. Photo: Supplied.
Rita Joseph is a Democrat and teacher at PS6 (Norma Adams Clemons Academy), candidate to represent District 40, comprising the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Lefferts Garden and Southern Crown Heights.

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