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‘Set everything on fire and call it a day,’ Residents losing patience with stinking, growing trash piles

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Denise Perez came home from evacuation and found the trash cans on her Gentilly street were just as she left them.

“A week prior to the hurricane we still hadn’t had a pick up so the garbage cans have maggots as big as me,” said Perez.

Even more problematic, according to a statement from Mayor Cantrell, she says “My team and I are doing everything possible to build capacity to rid our city streets of trash for good” adding that Saturday morning “the city’s solid waste contractors completed all Monday/ Thursday routes.”

Perez lives on a Monday/Thursday route.

“Clearly, yes we still have trash that is not a correct or true statement… I think it’s a bold face lie,” said Perez.

City leaders say with the hurricane adding onto the already pre-existing trash burden before the storm, they’re now trying to play catch up.

“It stinks let’s just be honest about it, it stinks and I get it but we’ve been dealing with crisis from back to back. COVID-19 has caused trash delay as well,” said Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen.

City councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen says the same issue is happening on her street and in her district as well, but she’s asking for patience.

“They are servicing the 95-gallon city trashcan and the city of New Orleans has already started the process to secure another trash company to pick up household waste impacted by hurricane Ida. I’m hoping that company will be in place next week so that our neighbors will see there’s more help,” said Nguyen.

She adds with the sheer volume of trash now, trucks are filling up faster which means more drive time to the landfill and back.

“How can we help them to get to a transport station so that way the garbage truck can be back in your neighborhood and picking up more trash,” said Nguyen.

But as the trash piles grow, the flies grow even bigger and thinning patience may lead to more creative means.

“At this point, we might as well just make a big bonfire and set everything on fire and call it a day,” said Perez.

The full city statement from Mayor Cantrell is as follows:

“Like the rest of our residents, I am seeing first-hand that trash is gathering in many parts of the city. I understand the impacts the solid waste industry shortage is having on the ground and in our neighborhoods, which was a serious challenge before Hurricane Ida and an even greater challenge after the storm. But I want our residents to know that my team and I are doing everything possible to build capacity to rid our city streets of trash for good. I am also asking for your continued patience as we bounce back from Ida and humble ourselves as our neighbors took an even stronger blow,” said Mayor Cantrell.

For added context, as of this morning, the City’s solid waste contractors have completed all Monday/Thursday routes. We expect that most Tuesday/Friday routes will be completed by Sunday. Upon finishing the Tuesday/Friday routes, City contractors will move to the Wednesday/Saturday routes, which will complete the initial first pass of the City sometime late next week.

The City has issued emergency procurements (ITBs) for supplemental household solid waste collection. The deadline to respond has been extended by three calendar days (one business day) to allow sufficient time for bidders to respond. Those resources are anticipated to be available to support collections next week.

The City’s emergency debris contractors began storm debris removal on Tuesday, Sept. 7, and have removed 4,181 cubic yards. Please view CleanUp - NOLA Ready for updates on Hurricane Ida debris removal and zones crews are actively working each day.

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Mayor Cantrell gives reassurance on the City’s trash removal

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