Baltimore’s Newest Weapon in the War Against Rats

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Okay, so it's not quite this bad -- yet.
Okay, so it’s not quite this bad — yet.

They dart into bushes, nibble their way in trash bags, or end up smashed and flattened on the pavement: Yes, Baltimore, you have a rat problem. The city has made various salvos in its war against the rodents, but as city residents could tell you, it seems like the rats might be winning. So far, at least.

Baltimore’s newest anti-rat effort is the introduction of 9,000 gigantic plastic trash cans on wheels. The idea is that if you just put your trash out on the corner in a trash bag, you’ve basically given the rodents a week’s worth of free food. While Baltimore has provided recycling bins for residents, this is the first time it’s tried giving out trash cans. One reason for that is the cost; if this pilot program is approved for extension to the whole city, it’ll cost about $10 million. The other big issue is theft. Judging from my own experience, there must be a thriving trash can-stealing ring out there; who knows why, but these trash cans do tend to disappear. To combat the theft problem, the city-issued bins will have tracking devices to prevent theft.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the cans cost about $40 each, are made of durable plastic, and are designed to stay upright on windy days. The cans were given out to residents of Belair-Edison and the greater Mondawmin area; if all goes well, expect to see the council make this a city-wide program. But, of course, things might not go well: “Rats around here eat the plastic. They’d have to be good plastic — gotta be thick,” Belair-Edison resident Alex Williamson told the Sun.



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5 COMMENTS

  1. A number of years ago a veterinarian’s letter to Time magazine recommended setting out a 2:1 mixture of cornstarch and plaster of paris because rats can’t regurgitate so the hardened plaster of paris kills them. – Royall Whitaker, Annapolis

  2. Hm, is it just me or does anyone remember the city distributing trash cans a handful of years back? I’m relatively sure I didn’t hallucinate it because I, in fact, still have one at my house. I think it has that silly “believe” logo on it… but I can’t swear to that part. On the other hand, I never got a recycle bin from the city. I didn’t know they gave them out and I don’t mind admitting I feel just a bit cheated. But a new can on wheels would be welcome.

  3. Since the trash pick up went to once a week, the problem has compounded. The rats are absolutely crazy in the Remington Area.

  4. Wasn’t the city just recently talking about commissioning private companies to take the trash and recycling, and the outrageous cost that would have of providing special trash cans to each household that can be taken by truck lift? Now they are spending $40 each on trash cans for the whole city and are not combining these efforts in the slightest? Yes another reason why we need to think comprehensively!!! A comprehensive waste plan, a comprehensive transportation plan, a comprehensive tourism plan….

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