By Winnie Hu, New York Times
August 19, 2018
The New York City Sanitation Department has taken away the litter baskets from Harlem primarily because it says that while the baskets are intended only for litter from pedestrians, most had been crammed full of trash bags and debris from homes and businesses.
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But no other area has felt the impact as much as Harlem and now its residents and leaders are fighting back, saying the loss of trash cans has left a mess on their sidewalks and unfairly punishes an entire neighborhood for the transgressions of a few. They point out that trash continues to be tossed where the baskets used to be — only in unsightly heaps on the ground that embarrass residents, drive away customers and tourists and draw roaches and rats. In a further insult, they say, people have even been fined for trash that piles up outside their homes or businesses.
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With New York City growing ever more crowded, the flood of newcomers and tourists has brought more litter and trash to Harlem and other thriving neighborhoods. In the South Bronx, where overflowing litter baskets have become a constant headache in heavily trafficked areas, Rafael Salamanca Jr., a city councilman, said he was told by sanitation officials that they did not have the resources to add more baskets. So this year, the councilman, a Democrat, set aside $40,000 in city funds to purchase 50 new litter baskets in his district.