Sunday, September 19, 2010


Bruno Iciano answered all of KARMA's questions about litter at last Thursday's Albemarle Neighborhood Association meeting. Mr. Iciano is the Community Affairs Liaison in the Community Affairs Unit of the Department of Sanitation.

Q. How often are the corner litter baskets emptied? 
A. The baskets on Church Avenue are emptied on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday during the overnight shift (midnight and 8:00 a.m.). They're emptied a second time on Monday and Thursday during the morning shift (6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).

Q. Why are the baskets full again--and sometimes overflowing--the day after they're emptied? 
A. People are putting their bagged household garbage in the baskets illegally. Sanitation agents look inside the bags to see if they can find the address of the person who placed it there. If they do, they issue a summons (Notice of Violation).

The Sanitation Department will remove a basket if enough people ask their Community Board to do so for the purpose of seeing if that will force people to dispose of their household garbage in the proper place.

Q. Why doesn't Kensington have more of the litter baskets with the narrow openings that are designed to prevent people from putting their household or commercial garbage in them?
A. Organizations, politicians, and Business Improvement Districts
can sponsor (pay for) these high-end baskets. Organizations are allowed to put their name on the basket but not an ad. [Former City Councilmember Bill de Blasio sponsored several high-end baskets in Kensington, and Astoria Federal Savings Bank sponsored one on its corner.]

Q. Why aren't there enough litter baskets near schools and bus stops?
A. Bus stops don't warrant baskets.

Q.Why has there been more litter than usual on the sidewalks?
A. Merchants are responsible for keeping the sidewalk in front of and alongside their stores clean. The Sanitation Department's first step will be outreach; they'll talk to the merchants and give them literature, which is available in three or four languages. The second step is enforcement of the law.
Mr. Iciano suggested that the president of the Albemarle Neighborhood Association write him a letter detailing specific problems.

A member of the audience wanted to know if the Doe Fund is a substitute for the Sanitation Department. Mr. Iciano replied that it's an additional service, not a replacement.

Mr. Iciano was asked if sidewalks that are obstructed by stands that hold merchandise is a problem that the Sanitation Department can do something about. He said that it is.

He was asked if photos of violations, such as car service drivers emptying litter from their cars onto the street, can be submitted to the Sanitation Department for action. He told us that photos can't be used as evidence; a Sanitation agent has to witness the violation in person.

Mr. Iciano is willing to go to PTA meetings to educate adults and to schools and other places to educate children.

A 2-minute and 52-second long video explains "How to Recycle in New York City."

Mr. Iciano said to call 311 first to report violations because your call must be answered and it will be recorded. If no action is taken, call Mr. Iciano and tell him what the problem is that you reported and give him your complaint's confirmation number.

Veronica Guzman, a Kensington resident, and Shawn Campbell, legislative aide to Assemblymember Jim Brennan, offered to maintain a list of the complaints that were made and their confirmation numbers. Ms. Campbell's contact information is District Office, 416 Seventh Avenue, (718) 788-7221.

You can contact Mr. Iciano by e-mail at or by phone at (646) 885-5022. The Sanitation Department's website address is