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NYC Parks Launches New Campaign to Tackle Surge in Trash Being Dumped at Parks

An anti-litter corral put down as part of the “Toss your trash” campaign launched by NYC Parks (Image provided by NYC Parks)

Aug. 31, 2020 By Michael Dorgan 

A new advertising campaign has been launched by the NYC Parks Dept. to combat excessive trash being left in public parks.

The agency kicked off its “Toss your trash” campaign last week and has released a number of targeted advertisements to encourage visitors to dispose of their trash correctly at parks or to take garbage home with them.

The Parks Dept. said it started running the advertisements in response to high levels of trash being dumped at city parks over the summer months following a surge in visitor numbers.

The agency has put up anti-trash advertising posters at park entrances and alongside picnic tables and barbecue pits to remind people to keep the parks clean.

Posters have gone up in grocery stores and bus shelters and digital adverts are running at LinkNYC structures.

There are a number of different posters– each with its own message. “Park your trash Here,” reads one poster, while another says “Show Your Park Some Love, New York”

Public service announcements are being broadcast on various city radio stations.

As part of the campaign, the Parks Dept. is placing more than 100 corrals at picnic and barbecue areas across some of the city’s busiest parks over the next couple of weeks. The corrals consist of a large, highly visible banner that go around a group of trash cans, NYC Parks said.

NYC Parks’ staff are handing out trash bags to spur park-goers to dispose of their refuse in the trash cans or to take home with them when they leave.

The Parks Dept. said that the initiative will incentivize people to take more responsibility for the trash they generate at parks and tackle the “exponential increase” in the amount of trash being left behind each day.

The rise in visitors to parks during the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with significant cuts to the NYC Parks budget has caused the uptick in trash levels, according to the Parks Dept.

“Now more than ever, our parks and greenspaces are places of refuge and we have been working hard despite the ongoing pandemic and budget reductions to keep them clean for all to enjoy,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said in a statement Friday.

“We are urging all New Yorkers to help out by disposing trash in designated receptacles, or taking it with them when they leave,” Silver said.

NYC Park’s annual budget was slashed by $84 million in the latest budget and, as a result, it was unable to hire 1,700 summer staff this year. The cut has meant that staff levels are running at 45 percent less than what they were during the summer of 2019, according to NYC Parks.

Maintenance hours have been reduced by 25,000 hours per week and crews are attending 400 fewer sites each week, the agency said.

However, as part of the “Toss your trash” campaign, NYC Parks has co-ordinated voluntary clean-up events with elected officials and other organizations to tackle the excess trash.

Queens Council Member Francisco Moya has been involved in clean-up events and NYC Parks has asked that anyone looking to take part in future cleanups to contact their local elected representative or Partnerships for Parks for more information.

A “toss your trash” campaign poster. (Image provided by NYC Parks)

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