Amid a growing number of rodent complaints filed this year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams is moving forward to combat the problem with his "Clean Curbs" initiative.

Mayor Eric Adams Announces "Clean Curbs" Initiative

Adams' campaign focused heavily on cleaning up New York City streets following the rise of litter and rat sightings during the pandemic, concerns over outdoor dining spaces, and decreased sanitation funding by past city administrations.

The project includes a containerized waste bin pilot program, which was launched in all five boroughs on April 20. Also included is a change for when garbage bags can remain on the streets.

On Monday, Adams and city officials rolled out the proposal to change the time of residential and commercial garbage curb disposal from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. By reducing the amount of time that garbage bags are on the curb — it can sometimes exceed 14 hours — the city hopes to minimize complaints by business owners and residents. Those who do not comply will risk a $50 fine for a first offense.

In a statement to Politico, Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch asserted a commitment to the initiative.

"We're working collaboratively with interested stakeholders on this, including our partners in labor and property owners large and small, but New Yorkers are fed up with the status quo, and making small tweaks around the edges just isn't going to cut it anymore," Tisch said.

The initiative initially received backlash from union officials including members of the 32BJ Service Employees International Union, an influential property service workers' union and supporter of Adams' campaign. Union members were concerned with the flexibility of the proposal and the effect it would have on work volume. After negotiations, however, the proposal has moved forward and is now scheduled for a public hearing in November.

The city has also created a new early morning disposal program in which trash can be placed on the curb at 4 a.m. for a 7 a.m. pickup, and an option for 6 p.m. curb placement if the trash is placed in a secured container.

Following the public hearing in November, the proposal is set to take effect in April 2023.

"Bags of trash sitting on the curb for hours have hurt our city's recovery for too long," Adams said in a statement to Politico. "It's one of the most indelible images of New York, but today we're saying enough is enough."

There has been a sharp uptick in reported rat sightings in 2022. There have been 21,557 rat sightings to the city's 3-1-1 phone line from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, up from 18,601 for the same period of 2021.