By Samantha Roberts
On April 12th,2023, Mayor Eric Adams anointed the first-ever Director of Rodent Mitigation of New York.
The likeliness in New York City that a civilian will see a rat is outlandishly high. U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat shared their thoughts on rat infestation. This infestation process is rapid. The lifespan of this rodent is about two years. Maturity is reached within two months. Rodents mate within two seconds, and a rat can produce 8 to 10 babies after six times per year. That’s 120 rats for each rat mother during their lifetime. A comment made by Adriano Espaillat was, “That is a lot of rats.” The suggested improvements discussed were the anointment of Kathleen Corradi, the mention of the Harlem Rat Mitigation Program, and steps on how city residents can assist in this change.
In the words of Mayor Eric Adams, “Let me be the first to turn over to you our new rat czar.” The decision made by the New York City Mayor to anoint Kathleen Corradi is the first suggestion for improvement. Director Corradi is a willing civil servant for New York City. Director Corradi shared her experiences as a ten-year-old juvenile who petitioned for anti-rat measures. Director Corradi explains that these measures include reducing food, water, and shelter against these animals. Director Corradi represented the Department of Education’s rodent reduction efforts and has a degree in biology and urban sustainability. What are the responsibilities of the new director?
This position requires initiative on holistic solutions to terminate the rodents that reside across New York City. The first step in these actions is the Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone. This program is designed to accelerate rat reduction among Community Boards nine to eleven. These boards include 28 NYCHA properties, 73 city parks, approximately 70 DOE schools, and 10,000 plus private properties.
The Director must oversee how the budget is spent within this program. As of Fall 2023, the Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone will be awarded $3.5 million. This budget will be used to hire new staff, purchase new equipment, and eight new red slabs. The staff is hired to inspect, exterminate, and maintain public spaces. The new products include tilt trucks designed with better containment systems for trash. The slabs are a tool to harden floors to prevent burrowing.
In 2017, the Rat Reduction Plan was announced by the De Blasio administration. The $32 million was targeted to be used in the three most infested parts of the city. That budget was dedicated to new waste containers, rat pads in NYCHA buildings, better trash management, more trash pickup and anti-rat staff, ramped-up enforcement of rat violations, and new laws to require better trash management. Most of these actions are like the Harlem Rat Mitigation Plan.
Rodent species reduce New Yorkers’ quality of life. The population of rats can cause harm to the cities’ quality of life. Rats can contaminate food and spread disease through their gnawing and burrowing. Citizens can participate in the actions against rodent mitigation in five ways. The first way is to clean up, plain and simple. Residents that clean up clutter don’t give rats a place to live. The second way is to obtain rat-resistant containers with secure airtight fitting lids. The third is by keeping landscapes free of tall weeds and trimmed shrubs. The fourth is to check for cracks and holes in the foundation of your shelter. Lastly, do not litter and do not feed wildlife.
I’ll leave you with this, Kathleen Corradi stated, “You will see a lot more of me and a lot less rats.”