Chinatown Trash Wars: New York City’s Sanitation Epidemic

If you’ve ever visited the Chinatown neighborhoods of New York, you would know that their streets are no joke. The questionable stains on the concrete as well as the pungent aroma of rotting fish are truly an unpleasant welcome upon entry. Last night’s trash occupies the edge of the sidewalk. An unknown liquid substance leaks (and reeks) from the garbage onto the city streets and has become a staple of New York’s Chinatowns. Something as simple as keeping the city clean should not be such a prevalent issue in our society.

It smells worse than it looks!

It smells worse than it looks!

Flushing’s Main street center is a high traffic area that kicks off the 7 line. Many people go through the Main street plaza during their daily commute. A fog of cigarette smoke and the odor of garbage envelops the city 24/7. The indifference of the uncleanliness of the neighborhood reflects the temperament of its people. Most local residents seem to unaffected by the city’s severe sanitation problem, and this shouldn’t be the case. Such high concentrations of air pollution can not be very good for ventilation. The city’s sanitation greatly affects our overall health in a very subtle way, but that shouldn’t devalue its significance. People are adamant in keeping their food and water clean, but why is their habitat and air quality irrelevant?

Smelling something as unpleasant as an abundance of trash makes you not want to breathe. The air is polluted with waste, I wouldn’t even want to imagine taking a deep breath between Roosevelt and Main. It’s like walking through the rectum of Queens. Nabvy Chan, a regular commuter to Flushing Queens, states “It’s very dirty. Well, it’s a very congested area so there’s a space problem as well. That’s like everywhere else in the city though. That, and it is also overpopulated.” Collective litter holds a large percentage in the neighborhood’s uncleanliness. Most of the unpleasant waste comes from the leftovers of supermarkets. The trash isn’t going to disappear. If it’s not collected or on the floor, it’s in the ocean on it’s way towards the Pacific trash vortex. Most of the population seems to ignore the garbage and leave more trash into the street.

Scattered debris heading towards the drain...

Scattered debris heading towards the drain...

Just as it is contaminated, any neighborhood can be cleaned most efficiently with the participation of the community. Community awareness should be raised, and encourage people to throw away trash in the appropriate bins. Litter can be collected and bought by the city by the nickel, as they do with recyclables. Ms. Chan suggests that “Building newer and better equipped buildings will improve sanitation. Better sewer systems as well.” More funding can be sent to research for regulating waste products. Community service workers can be assigned to regulate litter as well as keeping the city clean of excess garbage and scrubbing the streets.

New York City is our home. With respect to our city and planet, we should at the very least make an effort to keep it clean. Imagine how much more beautiful our city could be if it was a bit more aesthetically appealing! The atmosphere would be a lot cleaner, and that is truly a benefit in itself. The waste we leave undisposed will be absorbed back into us if we do not get rid of it.

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