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Major Trash Backlog Persists In NYC 8 Days After Snowstorm

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Friday marked eight days since a snowstorm struck New York City, and the city was still dealing with it.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the trash backlog was still so great Friday that alternate side of the street parking has been suspended until Tuesday. Meanwhile, street sweepers were being assigned to haul trash.

Kramer reported that people are frustrated with the efforts to clean up the dirty city.

"They don't collect it at all," said Martin Hill of the Bronx. "They're leaving it for the rats. Rat food – all they're leaving it for."

"In the Bronx and Queens it's kind of sad, you know," said Daisy Rivas of Manhattan, "because they're taking their time. They're not complying the way they should."

"You can see it everywhere – the garbage up and down the streets. You can see Christmas trees everywhere," said Frank Lord, "and it's getting a bit annoying."

More than a week since the storm dumped over a foot of snow on the city, people were still talking trash. They wondered why the streets were still filled with it.

It's everywhere – East Side, West Side, the outer boroughs – and believe it or not, in big piles outside Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia's office.

Kramer asked Garcia what was taking so long to pick up the trash.

"I don't actually think it's taking a long time," Garcia said. "I think that we have really been doing quite the job of getting a lot of material."

Using garbage trucks to plow the snow left a backlog of 40,000 tons of trash. To cope with that, the Sanitation Department extended the suspension of alternate side of the street parking rules until Tuesday so the 965 people who normally clean the streets can pick up trash instead.

They will also be working Monday – normally a holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Garcia said parking rules are suspended because no one will be assigned to clean the streets.

"The last thing I want to do is ask people to move their cars and not do work, because as an alternatie side of the street parking person, I know how difficult and annoying that would be," Garcia said.

Speaking of annoying, how about one crew at 61st Street and Columbus Avenue that left a whole lot of loose garbage on the street? CBS2's Kramer showed video of the incident to the commissioner, who said it is not acceptable for sanitation worker to spill garbage.

"The spillage is not OK. They're supposed to clean up the spillage – that's why they have a broom and shovel," Garcia said. "We will follow up and make sure it gets cleaned up."

And while having parking rules suspended for nine days may seem like a long time, Sanitation said it is not the outdoor world record. In 1978, New Yorkers did not have to move their cars for 62 consecutive days.

Two factors were involved 40 years ago – two huge snowstorms, and the fact that only half the street sweepers were in working condition.

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