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ArlingtonStaffing woes lead trash to pile up in Arlington

Staffing woes lead trash to pile up in Arlington

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Spiking gas prices? Check. Raging inflation? Check. Interest rates headed higher? Check. A federal government that seems clueless how to address it all? Double-check.

The 1970s have been making a comeback with a vengeance of late, and now Arlington residents at least can add another remnant of that long gone and mostly forgettable decade to the mix: Trash that keeps piling up rather than being collected.

Arlington government officials last week acknowledged its trash-collection services have been spotty of late. The excuse: Delays are “due to the county’s contractor dealing with job-market changes and other labor shortages,” government officials said.

That buck-passing may be of little solace to Arlington single-family homeowners, most of whom are obligated to use (and pay for) the government’s trash and recycling service.

In a June 10 e-mail, county leaders didn’t seem to have a battle plan for responding to the current conditions but did “ask for your patience and understanding” as the matter plays out.

Problems with trash collection largely were an urban concern in the 1970s, often due to labor strife that resulted in garbage going uncollected.

New York City, where the situation may have been worst, had two major garbage-collector strikes that actually bookended the decade, one in 1968 and the other in 1981. The former lasted nine days, the latter a whopping 17 days, as garbage piled up throughout the boroughs and the Big Apple took on a notoriously pungent aroma.

But there have been problems of a more recent vintage, too.

In 2020, New York City leaders slashed sanitation funding and – in a result that seemed to take them if nobody else by surprise – garbage began to accumulate on the streets and New York neighborhoods saw a major increase in rats and other vermin taking advantage of the situation.

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