They’re here, they’re there, they’re every bleepin’ where in New York City — and the recent surge in rats New York City is driving residents and elected officials alike mad.
With the Five Boroughs seeing decade-high levels of rat infestation, four City Council members put forth a five-point action plan Thursday to finally do something about it.
Heralded on July 14 at a City Hall press conference ahead of the Council’s latest stated meeting, the “Rat Action Plan” aims to establish “rat mitigation zones” where the city can step in to double down on efforts to control the vermin population.
There are also requirements for certain large building owners to use and maintain rodent-proof trash bins, and for developers to present rodent mitigation plans along with their blueprints for major construction projects.
City Council Members Shaun Abreu and Erik Bottcher of Manhattan joined two Brooklyn colleagues, City Council Members Sandy Nurse and Chi Ossé, in sponsoring the “Rat Action Plan.” They say the bills are necessary for the city to finally get the upper hand on rodents that have been plaguing the city for years.
According to a recent Associated Press report, the city’s 311 hotline saw a 60% surge in rat complaints from New Yorkers in April 2022 from the same period three years prior, with more than 7,400 sightings of the large rodents reported.
“New Yorkers are literally sick and tired of the plague of rats infesting our city,” said Nurse, who chairs the Council’s Sanitation Committee. “The City Council has already taken significant steps to restore rat mitigation funding and litter basket service in the recent City budget. Now, with the Rat Action Plan, we’re doubling down on our commitment to a rat-free NYC.”
Abreu agreed, pointing out that areas of Upper Manhattan, which he represents, have become infested with rats invading apartments, “burrowing into walls, and taking over playgrounds, scaring young students during recess.”
“The Rat Action Plan targets the sanitation crisis that has allowed rats to run rampant in our city,” he said. “I am proud to be part of the team working to put a stop to our most disgusting rat race.”
Two of the five bills (Intros. 414 and 459) in the Rat Action Plan would require the city government to establish formal rat mitigation zones and report on progress made in eradicating vermin in these areas.
The city’s Sanitation Department would define the parameters of what qualifies as a rat mitigation zone, and set in motion a plan to mitigate the rodent problem in a given area, including set goals, benchmarks and timelines.
A third bill (Intro. 460) would require any building found to have a high concentration of reported rodent infestations to use rodent-proof trash bins. These are generally metal or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight-fitting lids designed to keep the trash in, and critters out.
Intro. 442, the fourth bill in the Rat Action Plan, would mandate that those who submit plans for building alterations provide a rat mitigation plan before securing a work permit.
Finally, Intro. 544 would create a new violation for improper waste containerization, with a graduated system based on the number of units of a building and repeat violations.