BY LYNN EDMONDS
A business-led solution to address illegal dumping and garbage on Flushing streets was canned by the NYC Department of Sanitation on Monday.
Crown Container, a private contractor for commercial garbage pick up, announced on Friday that they would remove trash from a pedestrian triangle at the intersection of 37th Avenue and Prince Street, where illegal dumping is common.
But on Monday, the company was told they had to pack up the five industrial-strength garbage receptacles they had placed on the triangle, or face fines and violations.
John Choe, Executive Director of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, relayed the news when the Queens Tribune called his office to follow up on the story. The Chamber, which Crown is a member of, facilitated the effort to install the cans.
“We’re just trying to do the right thing here. There’s a trash problem in Flushing. Why can’t business proactively address the trash issue?” Choe said.
Crown had volunteered to empty the bins once a day free of charge, in the hopes that those who were dumping would use the receptacles and therefore keep the area neater.
They had specifically ordered the bins, which cost upwards of $600, from Wisconsin.
But Sanitation believes private containers on public property were against the rules and probably a bad idea.
“Private trash containers cannot be placed out on public property without the City authorization. Placing private trash containers there would more than likely attract more bags and illegal drop offs,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.
Choe said he just wanted to find a solution, and fast.
“I don’t have full confidence that things will be addressed immediately. Because for us it’s an immediate concern,” he said.
Monday’s meeting with Sanitation, apparently, had been a tough one.
“We proposed numerous avenues of cooperation that were met with repeated reiterations of City laws,” Simon Gerson, President of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said.
But he expressed gratitude to Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) for engineering the face-to-face meeting and said they “came away with a personal commitment from Ignazio Terranova, representing the Commissioner of Sanitation, to discuss a way to place City trash receptacles on the Prince Street Triangle this week.”
Crown’s trash initiative had the support of local elected officials, including Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), who attended the press conference, and Koo, who had been working with local business on that corner for some time.
The trash is believed to be residential, coming from apartments in the immediate area. Though they are multi-story buildings, they are supposedly not big enough to require trash storage. The theory goes that households who don’t want to store trash between the weekly scheduled dump it on the triangle.
Local businesses owners like Manni Wu have faced fines as a result and had to deal with the impact on their customers and their own quality of life.
“The smells and everything is really, really horrible,” Wu said.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana