New York City “is fighting a constant yet seldom-acknowledged battle against an unwavering adversary: trash,” writes Arpit Gupta writes in a Manhattan Institute policy brief.
“A veritable arms race between creation and disposal, New York’s trash battle is a tale of human ingenuity and resilience, as the city relentlessly pursues better methods to keep its streets clean.” . . .
“Banning incineration [in the 1980s] improved air quality but presented a city with a new problem: how to deal with the enormous volume of trash bags strewn throughout the city, especially without the system of alleyway pickups that predominate in other cities. The solution was to leave trash lying on sidewalks before pickup—leading to the #TrashCity that we all know today.”
Actually, says Gupta, the city is beginning to address the problem through containerization—requiring that trash be kept in “covered, rodent-proof containers.” But (not surprisingly) it has suffered “growing pains.”