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Queens Business Owners Call For Litter Crackdown

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Some Queens business owners are crying foul over a growing garbage problem on one of the borough’s busiest shopping strips, and they say they’re being forced to pay even though the situation isn’t their fault. NY1’s Ruschell Boone filed the following report.

Queens residents are facing a big trash problem on Liberty Avenue. There are overflowing garbage cans, garbage bags on the sidewalks, and litter all over the street between the Van Wyck Expressway and Woodhaven Boulevard.

“It's a daily problem,” says one resident.

The merchants are paying for it. The Department of Sanitation has ticketed many for not keeping their storefronts clean, but Paul Singh, owner of New Union Turnpike Auto Parts, says tidying up is next to impossible.

“You could be cleaning here at this moment and five seconds later, you know, there is garbage there again,” says Singh.

As a result, many business owners want a crackdown on people who litter, not on them.

“I think that people believe the tree root is a garbage can,” says business owner Bhola Ramsundar.

“They take the garbage from home and bring it and throw it in front of the garbage pail in front of the store, and that is disgusting,” says business owner Benny Persaud.

Vishnu Mahadeo, the head of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, is calling for more garbage cans.

“This is one of the very few here that we have on Liberty Avenue despite the fact that we have 900 businesses,” says Mahadeo.

Trash pickups recently went from two to three days a week after City Council members Ruben Wills and Eric Ulrich secured funding for it. They just got more funding to add even more pickups, but they say there's another problem.

“We have to call on the Department of Buildings, because one of the best kept secrets is a lot of the buildings around here have illegally converted apartments in the back,” says Wills.

To try to conceal the unlawful conversions, people put their trash on the corner, not in front of their homes.

Sanitation officials say the department’s enforcement division is monitoring the litter baskets to try to deal with that, but in any case, it's up to businesses to sweep their sidewalks clean twice a day.

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