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Nicky Nguyen carried two hot-pink plastic bags out of his house in Bath Beach on a recent weekday afternoon and left them at his curb. They contained old blankets, pillowcases, kids’ clothes, and jeans.
His bags were two of the 150,000 picked up as part of a month-long city Department of Sanitation pilot program for curbside textile collection that aims to gather clothing for charity and recycle garments too worn to wear.
New York is safer and more prosperous than it’s been in years, but the city still can’t figure out how to stop people from trashing streets with litter.
Despite a focus on quality of life issues, City Hall has made limited progress in dealing with a problem that has plagued mayors since the days when animals roamed Broadway. Even a small army of workers from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), business improvement districts, and the Doe Fund still can’t fully police 6,000 miles of city streets and more than 27,000 public waste and recycling baskets on a daily basis.
Two bills discussed at a recent hearing held by the City Council’s sanitation committee aim to increase penalties for littering and illegal dumping, by doubling them or more in some cases, in an effort to curb bad behavior.