City council members unveil five-point plan to fight NYC's rat problem

Lawmakers in New York City are taking aim at the city's growing rat problem, releasing a five-point plan they say will help control the rodent population. 

With all five boroughs seeing decade-high levels of rat infestation, four city council members unveiled a plan Thursday they say will address the problem by creating rat mitigation zones to concentrate resources where they are most needed and to hold bad actors accountable with a tiered system of fines.

"It's definitely ambitious to have this package of five bills to address the rat problem here in New York City," said Chi Osse, a council member representing District 36. "But rats are complex."

The plan is also seeking rodent-proof trash bins to be placed in buildings with high infestations, particularly large buildings.

For construction projects, developers would have to include a rat mitigation plan in their building proposals.

"We're always seeing developments and high rises go up right and left in our neighborhoods. This shakes the ground and it causes, you know, rodent populations to move from one area to another," says Ossé. "We hold these developers and construction companies accountable for how they prepare for those rat populations."

From the beginning of the year until the late spring, the city's 311 service request line received over 7,000 calls about rats--that's up 60 percent from the first four months of 2019.

"We had a budget that secured over $4.5 million for rat mitigation," says Council Member Shaun Abreu who represents the 7th District in northern Manhattan. "I think this is something that will make a huge difference in the lives of everyday New Yorkers."

The plan comes on the same day, time out released a poll in which NYC was ranked as the world's second-dirtiest city--only behind Rome, Italy