NEW YORK (VINnews) — New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger, who represents the Borough Park neighborhood, claims that the recent decrease in garbage collection near Brooklyn schools is a deliberate attempt to punish the local Jewish schools.
In September, the city cut regular trash pickup from five days a week to two at the neighborhood’s 27 public and private schools, including several large yeshivas. On days without pickup, mountains of trash pile up on sidewalks near local schools, some of them big enough to dwarf students passing by.
Yeger contended that the city is allegedly deliberately scaling back on garbage collection because the Yeshivas and schools are not participating in composting, according to a report by The Forward.
Yeger added that Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia had admitted that the policy was deliberate.
“It is a disgrace what has become of our district. @NYCSanitation refuses to service yeshivas in our community. Every community deserves to be clean and get basic service from the city. This cannot be allowed to continue,” Community Board 12, which includes Borough Park, tweeted in September, along with photos showing massive mounds of black garbage bags.
Sanitation now removes only what it calls “organics,” including food scraps used for composting, five days a week. It takes paper for recycling on three days. Metal, glass and plastic recycling is collected on two days.
Sanitation officials responded by stating that similar pickup programs exist in nearly 1,000 schools across the city and that it is tailored to reflect “the amount of garbage and recyclables NYC schools generate.”
However some Borough Park yeshivas cannot keep up. One custodian said separating food — which must be placed in special bins — from other trash creates more work.
“Now, we have to take each and every plate and divide food over here, the plate over there. Imagine you have to do it every day, and if we serve two shifts of lunch, we have to do it between every shift,” he told The Forward.
Sanitation said it reached out to school and community leaders in the spring about the program and visited schools to provide training. The agency also denied that Garcia said the reduction in collection was deliberate.