2020 is (literally) a garbage year for cities

CityLab Daily

Heavy duty: When millions of American consumers stopped generating trash in restaurants and offices this summer, it all went to their curbs. The amount of household garbage surged in several major cities, leaving sanitation workers scrambling to keep up as colleagues fell sick to the coronavirus and as budget shortages threaten layoffs. Many private and municipal trash collectors say they were not given the protective equipment needed to do their jobs safely — or extra wages.

Now with garbage continuing to pile up as the pandemic drags on, frustrated workers are walking off their jobs and rallying for better protection. Their strikes mirror those of the past decades, which crippled major cities like New York and Memphis, Tennessee, and left piles of waste strewn along streets. As Sarah Holder and Gerald Porter Jr. write, the last thing leaders want to do right now is further jeopardize the public health of their cities by messing with trash collection. Today on CityLab: Trash Is Piling Up. Sanitation Workers Are Feeling the Strain.

-Linda Poon

More on CityLab

Hiking Into the Wilds of Hong Kong
In a season of political upheaval and pandemic, residents of one of the world's most crowded cities have sought escape in the city's vast "country parks." 
Is This the Urban Trash Can of the Future?
The winner of the BetterBin design competition in New York City is easier for sanitation workers to lift and deters bulk trash-dumpers. It could replace the ubiquitous green litter basket.
Climate Change Is Turning the Heat Up Higher at Night Time
Nights are warming at a faster rate than daytime temperatures across vast swathes of the globe, potentially impacting weather patterns and making it more difficult for life to adapt to climate change.

What we're reading

  • The case for a national climate bank (Fast Company)
  • The West's infernos are melting our sense of how fire works (Wired)
  • In 2020 election, Florida felon voting limits could sway state outcome (Wall Street Journal)
  • A Pennsylvania county allegedly turned new voters away because they used to live in New York (Slate)
  • How Trump's "voter fraud" lie is disenfranchising Americans (New York Times)
  • The startling reach and disparate impact of Cleveland Clinic's private police force (ProPublica)


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