City that never sweeps? Trash in New York is piling up

World Today

New York has been ranked as the dirtiest city in America. It has more pests and litter than any other, according to a review of government data by the cleaning company, Busy Bee. CGTN’s John Terrett reports.

Trash is a major issue on New York streets, its transit system, and its apartment complexes.
For Brenda White, garbage literally rains down on the lawn outside side her ground floor apartment – far away from Manhattan – in the Bronx – tossed out of the window by residents on higher floors.
“Bottles, pampers, mice on traps that are still alive, whatever, you name it, comes out the window, you can hear it when it drops it makes a sound, like when my friends come over, my family – boom! – don’t worry that’s garbage,” she said.

Community Voices Heard (CVH) is a non-profit in Harlem that helps low income families with housing issues.

“Clearly we’re biased but New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world, clearly this is a great state!” said CVH’s Afua Atta-Mensah.
But she says almost half a million people live in New York public housing and many apartments are not fit to live in.
“You have many buildings that are frankly deteriorating and deteriorating at a rapid rate,” she said.
The Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo – who is widely thought to be considering a run for the White House in 2020 – recently toured some of New York’s public housing in the Bronx and declared it the worst he’d ever seen anywhere.

“It’s like a bad Charles Dickens novel.  You have the heat still going on and off.  You have children living with asthma in units with mold. This is New York City.  This is not a third world country,” he said.

The New York City public housing authority – NYCHA – is the largest of its kind in North America. Atta-Mensah said systemic under-funding by Federal, State and even local government over forty years means the rot has set in.
“You know normal things happen like rain and when it rains it affects the roofs and we have sadly many members and many NYCHA residents across this great city who now have mold in their apartment right,” Atta-Mensah said.

Mold is a serious problem in a lot of NYCHA developments too.

Hattie Ellison, 80, has lived in her 15th floor Bronx apartment since 1971. She raised her kids here and loves her home but one day water from the 19th floor above flooded her apartment. She said her health has not been quite the same since.
“I just get where I can’t hardly breathe and I can like feel something in my throat, the doctor told me I had allergy, I never had allergy before, she don’t got asthma but I got allergy, so I take allergy medicine,” Ellison said.

Atta-Mensah said the lack of upkeep is a moral issue.

“[New York is] trying to be a progressive bastion in the nation that we would have a sizable amount of the population that are living in conditions that everybody would agree is deplorable 450,000 people live in public housing here in New York City that’s about the size of the city of Boston,” she said.

“That’s a large number of folks who are living in horrible conditions through no fault of their own other than government has decided to disinvest.”