New York declares war on rats with $32M battle plan

- Rats, lots of them, are a disgusting problem in New York City. That is why Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $32 million multiagency plan to reduce the city's rat infestation.

"This plan is about going at the root causes -- stopping rats from having a place to live, stopping them having the food that they want to eat," de Blasio said.

The plan is to start in the areas that are most infested. The city has identified three: Grand Concourse section of the Bronx, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side in Manhattan, and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.

This plan will cost the city millions of dollars, but the mayor said the goal is to reduce the rat population by 70 percent.

The city will invest in 336 new solar compactor trash bins also known as Bigbelly trash cans, which are rat-proof. The price tag for each is $7,000. The city will replace all wire waste baskets at parks and street corners with rot-resistant alternatives, like steel cans. The city will have more frequent trash pick-ups and invest $16 million in eliminating the dirt floors from 70 basements of public housing buildings.

But that's not all.

The sanitation commissioner said she will work with the City Council to pass legislation to increase fines for illegal dumping and order apartment buildings with 10 units or more to wait until 4 a.m. to put out the trash.

"We will step up enforcement against property owners that for too long have failed to take steps to eliminate rat infestations," Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said.

Bigbelly trash cans were deployed to the three targeted areas on Wednesday. The mayor said if they work at those locations he will extend the program citywide.

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