Weekly Feature

2013-08-15 / Letters to the Editor

Lancaster provides smorgasbord for rats

Most cities, towns and villages have begun using garbage totes with attached lids, some of which are Cheektowaga, Sloan, Amherst, Tonawanda, Kenmore, Buffalo and, more recently, the Town of West Seneca has a target date for their use of late summer and Lackawanna has a target date of fall. There is a reason for this. Garbage totes with lids are a simple, cost-effective way of diminishing rat populations.

Both New York State law and Erie County law require all residents to store their garbage in lidded containers, although many residents are not aware of this. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for municipalities to enforce this law because of financial constraints leading to lack of staff.

The mandatory use of garbage totes ensures that all residents are storing their garbage in a lidded container. When purchased in large quantities, totes would cost residents a one-time fee of between $45 and $65. Those prices are comparable to or cheaper than Home Depot prices for a similar product. The garbage totes also come in large or smaller sizes, depending on the need of the resident.

Garbage totes won’t, in and of themselves, eradicate rats; however, other towns have noted a significant decrease in rat prob- lems by their usage. Lancaster is surrounded by cities, towns and villages that have greatly diminished rats’ food supplies by placing their garbage in garbage totes. Therefore, rats are migrating to Lancaster because it offers a smorgasbord of easy food.

Rats produce a new litter of six to 10 offspring every three weeks, damage property, lower property values and carry various diseases. It is understandable that the Town of Lancaster can’t do anything about garbage totes in 2013 due to its current waste management contract. However, now is the time to start planning ahead for their usage in 2014. Now is the time to take proactive, preventive measures in the fight against rats before the problem gets so out of control nothing can be done.

Tobian Breidert
Riemers Avenue
Town of Lancaster

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