Bill de Blasio

NYC Looks to Cut Rat Population by 70 Percent in Most Infested Neighborhoods

What to Know

  • Mayor de Blasio has announced a $32 million plan to reduce rats in the city's most infested neighborhoods
  • The aim is to reduce trash that attracts the rodents and enable them to survive, thrive and reproduce
  • The multi-agency plan will target the Grand Concourse, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side, and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvsant

Rats may soon start disappearing from the city's notoriously rodent-filled neighborhoods. 

At least that's what Mayor Bill de Blasio is promising with his $32 million plan to reduce the rat population by up to 70 percent in Grand Concourse; the Chinatown, East Village, Lower East Side area; and the Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods. 

The multi-agency city plan will dramatically reduce available habitats and food sources for rats, with the aim of diminishing rat reproduction and cutting rat colonies. 

That includes adding hundreds of new solar compactor trash bins and replacing all remaining wire waste baskets on parks and street corners with steel cans; exterminating, cleaning out and cementing basements in public-housing buildings; and more frequently picking up trash and removing litters on streets and parks.

The city will also propose laws and fines to discourage building owners from leaving trash out too long or dumping trash illegally, and encourage residents to separate their food waste in sealed rat-resistant organic bins. 

Rats need just an ounce of food a day to survive, according to Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.

"We want to get rid of their four-star sidewalk cafes," she said.

The sanitation, health, parks, buildings and public housing agencies are all involved in the plan. 

In February, health officials said one person had died and two others were severely sickened in a Bronx neighborhood due to a rare disease transmitted by rats.

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