“There’s no magic wand that can solve this overnight,” said Cantrell. “If there was one, I would have waved him.”

The city of New Orleans will add a Mardi Gras-style garbage collection process to try to get rid of some of the trash that is piling up, rotting and stinking in several neighborhoods of the city, some of which have not seen garbage collection since before Hurricane Ida.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the CAO of Infrastructure Ramsey Green said 10 vehicles from the city, along with heavy equipment and a police presence, would be dumped to pick up loads of rotting rubbish. She called it “Operation Mardi Gras”.

The municipal Department of Sanitation, Parks and Parkways, Public Works, the S&WB, the Orléans Parish Sheriff’s Office, the RTA, and the airport will all mobilize heavy equipment to traverse all of the city’s streets and remove any bags currently on the street.

The operation begins Friday and involves workers loading the bags into dump trucks and front loaders and taking the garbage to a landfill.

“We don’t do this voluntarily, but out of necessity,” said Green.

“There’s no magic wand that can solve this overnight,” said Cantrell. “If there was one, I would have waved him.”

Green emphasized that the city crews would not pick up the city’s 95-gallon containers, but rather the additional garbage bags that were placed next to the containers because the containers were mostly full.

The 95-gallon containers will continue to be on the list of regular garbage collection providers.

The city crews handle solid food waste rather than fallen branches and storm debris, which is another function but not as big a health issue as rotting food, diapers, and other household trash.

“This is a temporary solution as we are moving towards a more permanent solution,” said Ramsey Green, the city’s chief administrative officer for infrastructure.

The garbage disposal problem, especially given the contents of many fridges and freezers thrown out before and after Hurricane Ida, has begun to rot and attract rodents and flies.

Mayor Cantrell said the city’s garbage disposal companies had to expect a 3-5 times workload after the storm, with only about 25 percent of their normal workforce.

In addition to the city’s collection efforts, they have 4 trucks from Ramelli Waste picking up parts of Algiers and Mid-City that they have designated as Zone 1 had a response from a supplier with 20 trucks but there are concerns that the company is trucks has but not enough workers.

Cantrell said IV garbage trucks, who also help with the collection, are working with Metro for their normal routes.

Self garbage dump

Cantrell also brought up their Elysian Fields Transfer Station landfill, which was criticized by local residents who complained that they were asked to dispose of their own household garbage while paying someone else to do it.

Cantrell said it was only an option for people who asked for an option. She said 200 vehicles used the construction site during the half day of operation on Wednesday and another 600 dumped garbage there on Thursday.

“You don’t have to, but if you want, the option is there.”

Cantrell also said the city is considering recognizing residents who went without garbage collection for weeks before Hurricane Ida and after the storm. She said she was also considering legally repeating the city’s garbage deal.

“That is absolutely on the table. I think we have to get it out, ”she said. “We have to pick up our rubbish.”

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