The city celebrated its first Anti-Rat Day of Action on Saturday.
“We've had rats the size of crocs just running up and down the street, like a croc shoe. Your average size eight. Running up and down the street. Multiple ones just running,” said Ruth McDaniels, president of the BUFNY II/Harlem Street Tenants Association.
She was one of several community members taking part in the efforts Saturday to get the rats out.
As part of the Anti-Rat Day of Action, Kathleen Corradi, the first-ever director of rodent mitigation in the city, was joined by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Sanitation and community organizations to tell neighbors what they can do to prevent rats.
“Rats need food, water and shelter to survive. Today, we're going to cut off their food source and reduce their habitat, take away the places they can live while caring for the street and making this block feel and appear differently,” Corradi said.
Among the other tips, the Department of Sanitation reminded people of the new times to put out their trash, and also informed them how the use of containers prevents rats from getting into trash bags. Composting is another tool that keeps food out of bags so rats cannot feed.
Officials say the rule changes are already having the desired impacts, with 20% fewer calls of rat sightings reported since the rules took effect.
The Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone is one of four mitigation zones, which will get additional funding to combat rats. Residents are happy for the extra attention, because even with the rule changes, they still are seeing many rats.
“I’m hoping that today will bring a healthy change and teaching people how to deal with the garbage,” McDaniels said.