Queens councilwoman announces partnership with DSNY to combat littering and promote composting

Photo courtesy of Ethan Marshall.

Queens Councilwoman Sandra Ung and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica Tisch on Oct. 18 announced a partnership to help combat littering within Ung’s District 20 as well as to promote composting during a press conference at Barton Avenue in Flushing.

Ung’s office is allocating $134,000 in funding, which will allow more sanitation crews to visit problem dumping sites and perform more garbage cleanup within the District 20, which covers Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell-Linden and Fresh Meadows. These mobile litter patrols will be in the district three times a week to remove illegal drop-offs and clean sidewalks, tree pits and rain gardens. Additionally, snow and ice will be removed from the Long Island Railroad overpass from Union Street to 149th Street during the winter.

“I want to thank Commissioner Tisch and all the hard-working members of the Department of Sanitation for helping to keep our city clean,” Ung said. “I am excited to announce that we have allocate $134,000 to fund a mobile litter patrol that would travel our neighborhoods to pick up the trash.”

In addition to announcing more sanitation crews will be around to clean sidewalks and litter across District 20, Ung and Tisch announced that several surveillance cameras will be placed at frequent illegal dumping locations in another effort to help curb the amount of littering across the district. These cameras are expected to be set up within the next few weeks. Among the sites Ung noted within the district of being victim to frequent littering were Downtown Flushing and the Long Island Rail Road overpass.

DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch (l.) and Councilwoman Sandra Ung (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

According to Tisch, DSNY had previously set up around 50 cameras at common illegal dumping sites across New York City. She said this pilot program proved to be very successful, leading to the desire to set up cameras at more illegal dumping sites in order to better curb littering. Tisch also said she hopes to quadruple the number of these cameras over the next few weeks.

Councilwoman Ung also provided $160,000 for the Flushing Business Improvement District (BID) for sanitation services. Additionally, she was among the group of City Council members who pushed for $22 million in the most recent budget to expand litter basket pickups to pre-pandemic levels citywide.

Trash dumped illegally at the intersection of 32nd Avenue and 140th Street in September (Photo courtesy of Sandra Ung’s office)

“Garbage is not only an eyesore, it is a public safety and public health issue,” Councilwoman Sandra Ung said. “While a lot of our efforts aimed at cleaner streets have focused on the busy commercial and commuter hub in downtown Flushing, we know there are sanitation issues in other part of the district. These new mobile litter patrols will target those sites, especially areas that repeatedly attract illegal dumping.”

Free composting bins were offered following the press conference. (Photo by Ethan Marshall)

Ung and Tisch were also offering 100 free composting bins following the conclusion of the press conference. Two bins were offered in an effort to promote organic composting. The little bin is meant to be inside one’s home for food scraps to be deposited into. The larger bin is meant mainly for yard waste. The food scraps from the small bin are meant to eventually be put into the larger bin, which should be left out on the curb to be picked up with recyclables. All this allows for more organic materials to be recycled rather than tossed into a landfill with the rest of the waste.

“We’ve taken so much organic waste out of the landfill already,” Tisch said. “Every extra bit counts. We are committed to keeping the community healthy, safe and clean. This investment will make a difference in the quality and cleanliness of streets [in the district].”

Despite the fact that there will be more manual litter patrols across the district, Ung still recommended the public keep a watchful eye out for illegal dumping. She advises those who see this occurring to contact her office at 718-888-8747 or to dial 311.

“One-third of the waste New Yorkers sends to landfills is food scraps and yard waste,” Councilwoman Ung said. “Instead of throwing it in the trash, let’s use it to create compost for our parks and open spaces, or even as a renewable source of energy.”

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