New York City councillor So Bottcher has introduced a local law bill that would require applicants for some construction permits to confirm they have employed a pest management professional for their projects.
The bill introduced on May 27,co-sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, comes amid a sharp rise in reported rat encounters, the New York Daily News reports.
Construction sites are known to send rats scurrying into the open, the published report says.
“I’ve never seen so many rats in my life,” said Bottcher, who has lived in New York for two decades. “They’re running over our feet. They’re dashing out in front of us as we walk. They’re climbing into trash cans on the corners.”
“When a building is demolished or a new foundation is being dug, it sometimes disturbs a rat colony or a rat reservoir,” Bottcher said. He also noted that staging areas can also provoke rats to come in search of trash.
Rat sightings in the first five months of 2022 have reached the steepest rate of increase since 2010, when the city started keeping records. Complaint calls have increased by more than 70 per cent from 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started disrupting life and business.
Levine said that the rise in rat sightings correlates. “There’s no doubt that one factor is the resumption of construction,” Levine was quoted as saying.
He sounded optimistic about the bill’s hopes under Bottcher’s stewardship, saying that “there may be pushback from builders” but that early conversations in the Council have been positive, the newspaper reported.