From Van Cortlandt to Central Park, the city’s greenspaces are in full use these days, and its evident in the amount of trash left behind. As part of an effort to maintain the myriad of leafy terrain, the city Parks Department has introduced a campaign to keep parks pristine amid a dramatic rise of trash complaints across the five boroughs.
The “Toss Your Trash Campaign” will feature signs at bus shelters, grocery stores, and, of course, park entrances to help remind New Yorkers of their responsibility. A public service announcement has also been produced, while reminders to pick up trash will appear on the city’s monolithic LinkNYC sites. Signs will also be placed alongside picnic tables and barbecue pits as an added reminder. Parks staffers will also head out in droves to distribute trash bags to visitors.
In a statement, parks commissioner Mitchell Silver, said the city’s green parcels are the kind of refuge needed “now more than ever” given the closure of so many amenities during the pandemic. The increased in visitorship across parks comes even as the city slashed the Parks Department’s budget by $84 million — a seventh of the agency’s prior budget, according to the NY Times — as city officials look to close a $9 billion budget shortfall as a result of the virus. Reductions in park staff have been the result of the cutbacks, presenting challenges to the overall maintenance of parks.
Geoffrey Croft with NYC Park Advocates, a parks watchdog group, told Gothamist that any cut from the Parks Department will be felt by New Yorkers. “The Parks Department is the stepchild of city agencies and for more than four decades our elected officials have refused to adequately fund them,” said Croft. “This is squarely on them.”