Getting Rid of Rats

Hold on to your knickers, this is a sexy one.

Since the first day on the job downtown, I heard stories about rats. Don't believe what you've heard, they are no where near as big as the stories I was told. They're rats. That's bad enough. No need to pile on the hyperbole. So we have rats, as many cities do. What can we do?

  • Immediate Actions:

    • Replace the trash cans or at the very least, put in new liners. Our trash cans are a metal skeleton with a plastic tub inside. The thin garbage bags go in the plastic tubs and hopefully people throw their trash away. I'm currently doing a count but it looks like maybe 75% of our trash cans are missing the tubs. This leads to rats ripping the bags and eating the trash. Yes, we are actually feeding the rats right now.

    • Remove the bushes, or at the least, do a major cutback. Rats use the bushes as shelter. The bushes are a bad design idea anyway, so let's remove them. We can make prettier streets and expose the rats. 

  • The Bad News:

    • Replacing the trash cans will be expensive. City trash cans can cost $500 each and that's on the cheaper scale. Just tossing out a number, say 500 at $500, would cost $250,000 and that's just for the product. Then we have to take up the old ones, do something with them, and then install the new ones. The trash cans are bolted down so it's not as easy as you might think.

  • Another reason to replace the trash cans:

    • Our trash cans currently are wide open to the elements. If it rains, the bags fill up with water and our trash collectors have to deal with that. Come on, that ain't right. We can buy new cans with lids so water doesn't fill up the bags and wind doesn't blow the bags away.

  • Long-Term Fixes

    • ​Overhaul our trash collection program. Currently, we allow people to throw their trash bags out to the curb. Seriously? This is so ugly and so unsanitary! I believe the ordinance says trash cans are to be used and if your require more than four trash cans, then you need to rent a dumpster. 

    • RECYCLE: Please see the recycled glass page for more info. Stop and think though. When and where was the last time you saw a recycle receptacle for the public to use? Have you seen one downtown? I know of one and it's owned and operated by UAB. We can, and we must, do better.

    • Educate the public and regulate our friends and neighbors. If you see a friend throw trash on the ground, call them out and ask them to pick it up. The trash collectors have it hard enough without us expecting them to pick up our mess from the streets and in the bushes. 

(828) 228-4886