Health & Environment

Clean Streets Committee Draws Crowd in Tackling Trash & Rat Issues

cleanstsnov18_2009audWhere can you spend two hours talking trash, rats and dog waste? Yes, that’s right, only at NEWRA’s Clean Streets committee meeting.  A big group showed up on Tuesday at the Nazzaro Center for a far-reaching discussion led by co-chairs Naomi Paul and Patricia Thiboutot.

Instead of just whining about the problems, the committee started out by acknowledging key community members that have positively contributed to the progress made in the past year.

Phil Orlandella, Regional Review – The committee thanked Phil for his consistent focus on the trash and rat issues in several articles that have encouraged more participation and compliance.

Councilor Sal LaMattina and Kathy Carangelo – The Councilor’s office has come up with an effective “Letter from the Councilor” strategy to target property owners in locations where trash violations have been reported. Kathy presented the committee with a list of letters sent out since the last meeting. The letters also include the neighborhood “tipsheet.” Sal has also been doing spot phone calls. Residents can email Kathy at

cleanstsfrankobrienFrank O’Brien, Dept of Public Works – Frank is a consistent attendee at the Clean Streets meeting and has stretched the City’s limited resources to bring new trash barrels and other solutions to the North End.

Trash Barrel Placements

  • 8 new barrels out – only one complaint on Salem St by new condo building
  • In consideration of 1st floor residences, placing most on corners
  • Residents report better pickup – at least 2x/day
  • Call hotline (617-635-4500) to report overflowing trash barrels
  • Resident reported problem near Old North Church – tourist water bottles
  • Household trash – still a problem with residents using street barrels

signtrashbarrelsTrash Barrel Signs
In order to combat the misuse of street barrels, O’Brien displayed a sign that will be screwed on the barrels explaining that household trash is not allowed in the barrel.

Green Ticket Bill
The bill is in its 3rdreading, the final step before going to the full House. State Representative Aaron Michlewitz is talking to Speaker DeLeo and State Senator Petrucelli will push the bill in the Senate. You can find out more information on how to support the bill at

Tipsheet Mailing Update
Department of Public Works, Councilor LaMattina’s office and the Clean Streets committee are preparing a mass mailing to the entire neighborhood. A cover letter with the latest “tipsheet” will be used to communicate the latest information about how to be a good, clean neighbor.
Here is a preliminary copy of the tipsheet.

Street Sweeping
The city has been aggressively towing to make sure the final street sweepings are effective. Sweeping will be ending in a few weeks for the season, although the hoagies will work through the winter.

“10 Minutes with a Broom”
The program that encourages residents and businesses to sweep their sidewalks and gutters is almost a year old. The committee is looking at ways to improve on it.
Here is a list of those that have committed to the program.

Boston Grant Initiative
Clean Streets committee member Chau presented a grant program that awards $500-$5,000 awards for environmental improvement initiatives. The next deadline is January 15th and the committee is considering applying for resources. Some ideas include doggie-posts, adopt-a-block program with rewards, recycling flyers with clear bags for residents, landlord-resident programs and expansion of “10 minutes with a broom.” Other ideas or volunteers to work on the grant applications can email

The North End Chamber of Commerce is acquiring six new doggie-posts to be placed in various park locations where dog waste is a problem. The posts will have 400 biodegradable bags for dog walkers to pick up. There was discussion about the posts that also have a small trash receptacle, but it was decided that without the resources to empty them regularly, the posts would only have the bags.

In a showing of community partnership, Chris Young from the Chamber and Phil Orlandella of the Regional Review have volunteered to re-fill the bags on the new doggie-posts.

The Chamber will also address some reported problems regarding grease storage/removal.

Cigarette butts are flooding the neighborhood, especially outside the restaurants. The Clean Streets committee would like to see more butt cans/poles in trouble locations. The Chamber will help organize efforts to get more.

Rat Committee
Ann Pistorio reviewed the recent Phoenix article on rats. City Councilor Murphy is holding a hearing on Monday, November 30th on the rat problem in the city (see the Calendar). Rats are attracted to trash and dog waste. Residents can report rat sightings to the hotline (617-635-4500). The committee will look to have John Meany back to report on the latest progress of baiting in the neighborhood. It was also noted that sewers are a hot spot for rats and the North End is due for substantial sewer work in the years ahead.

Residents are encouraged to put out their trash in the morning, if possible, rather than the night before. This will result in trash on the street for less time. Double-ply bags are required so that rats cannot chew through them. Attendees batted around ideas for a common drop-off location for trash but the logistics appear very difficult.

View the Clean Streets website for more information:
Email Clean Streets at
The next Clean Streets committee meeting is Tuesday, December 15.

One Reply to “Clean Streets Committee Draws Crowd in Tackling Trash & Rat Issues

  1. In a city with one of the highest percentages of smokers nationwide, it is irresponsible of bar and dining establishment owners not to install butt huts. I look at butt huts (like the one Goody Glover’s has) and smoker’s poles as an act of friendship to the community. I always thank these businesses for helping me keep the neighborhood clean by providing a depository for my waste. Very nice.

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