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New Yorkers fight infestation with `rat summit’

NOV 30: They gnaw through heavy garbage bags and infest apartments, and finally the rats have driven New Yorkers to quit joking and get se...

By: DEUTSCHE PRESS AGENTEUR |
December 1, 2000

NOV 30: They gnaw through heavy garbage bags and infest apartments, and finally the rats have driven New Yorkers to quit joking and get serious with a `Rat Summit’ at Columbia University on Wednesday.

Among recommendations for more effective regulations were the use of metal or heavy plastic cans with attached lids for waste. New regulations are necessary because an annual rat-control budget of $14 million has made no dent. More recently, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose own residence was infested with rats recently, has set aside $600,000 dollars for television spots and posters in buses and sanitation that show “rat-feeders” – or inefficient garbage containers – and “rat-busters”, which are sealed metal cans.

Estimates of New York’s rat population range from 13 million to 70 million, in any case higher than the 8 million human beings who live there. “We make unprecedented efforts to kill rats,” said Guliani before the rat summit. “We kill more of them than any place else. We probably lead the country in rat killing.”

Biologist Bruce Colvin, who has advised many countries on rodent control programmes, said, “Anecdotally, it makes sense to say that the rat population grows as urban America becomes more congested and New York City is at the extreme end of the spectrum.”

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