The problems facing city residents and visitors in the District of Columbia in the midst of the federal government shutdown are becoming more apparent to city leaders each day. Walking along the National Mall reveals that people are still putting trash in the receptacles that are normally serviced by the National Park Service. The staff assigned to empty those receptacles have been furloughed.
The D.C. Department of Public Works will begin servicing the litter cans at national parks in the District, starting Friday, October 4, 2013. The city is asking residents and visitors to please place all trash in the trash receptacles. Without the intervention of the city a major health hazard could develop if the shutdown continues for weeks.
Walking the streets of D.C. during the federal government shutdown in 1995-96 was a treacherous affair. In photographs taken by the reporter the piles of trash and snow made walking very dangerous. Having just returned from major surgery, the writer was forced to step over mounds of trash and snow. There were places that were impassable. Many people take trash collection for granted until the service is not available. The memory of the shutdown of 1995-96 makes it clear that these services should not be taken for granted. Washington is a beautiful city until trash collection is shut down.
The shutdown of October 2013 is a crisis for the city; however, Mayor Vincent Gray has decided to attack one problem head on. “The National Park Service parks in the District attract large numbers of visitors – especially during the unseasonably warm weather we have been enjoying lately. It is imperative that someone remove the trash in a timely fashion before garbage piles up and rodents and other vermin are attracted. Because the federal government cannot step up to provide this basic service to District residents and visitors, I have authorized DPW to service the litter cans for the duration of the federal shutdown,” Gray said.
The customer service that city residents and visitors see every single day suddenly becomes all the more needed and appreciated when that customer service is no longer available. Gray has authorized city workers to serve residents and visitors by collecting trash and preventing the spread of small common objectionable animals. Mice and other rodents carry disease that can cause sicknesses in adults and children. Gray is making certain that as the government shutdown continues the spread of disease will not infect residents and visitors.
Help to keep the parks clean during the government shutdown. Please place all trash in the receptacles.