NEW YORK—As part of his ongoing campaign to revitalize New York City's public image through a citywide clean-up effort, mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced Monday the installation of special "infants only" dumpsters throughout the greater New York metropolitan area.
It is hoped that the new dumpsters will provide a convenient, germ-free baby-dumping option for low-income single mothers, enabling them to abandon their unwanted infants in a tidier, more health-conscious manner than before.
The new, clearly labeled dumpsters are also expected to make it significantly easier for city workers to collect and sort the estimated 25,000 babies placed in New York-area trash receptacles each year.
"By providing these mothers with a safe, convenient receptacle for unwanted babies, instead of requiring them to deposit them along with garbage of other types, New York is saying, 'Yes, we care,' Giuliani told reporters at a City Hall press conference.
While the infant-dedicated dumpsters will cost an estimated $220 million to install and maintain, Giuliani is confident they will more than make up for their cost in the long run. "Babies deposited in the new dumpsters will be collected, tagged and redistributed in a far more organized manner than those left in traditional multi-use dumpsters or garbage cans," Giuliani said. "This will greatly reduce the strain on our city's already sorely overtaxed human-services and child-welfare departments, saving millions over the long haul."
The new devices will also make it easier for city sanitation workers to separate recyclable metals, paper and plastics from non-recyclables, a task that, until now, was needlessly complicated by the presence of human children among the materials to be reclaimed.
Among the new dumpsters' many impressive features, according to the mayor: a unique soundproof design which minimizes the high-volume, panicked wails of infants crying out in desperation for their parents' return, and a patented, easy-to-clean design that requires only periodic hosings to flush out accumulated waste.
"These dumpsters' revolutionary 'E-Z Kleen' design will greatly reduce the amount of time abandoned infants will have to lie helpless in their own urine, vomit and fecal matter," Giuliani said. "It will also reduce the risk of cockroach infestation in the open wounds the newborns will likely develop, as well as the risk of injuries caused by maggot bites and rat attacks."
Mayoral aide Edwin Steep was equally enthusiastic. "With these new receptacles, a projected 17 percent fewer abandoned babies will be blinded by rats, which tend to attack the soft, vulnerable eye sockets of human infants first," he said.
Furthermore, Steep said, a large, bright-pink smiley-face decal affixed to the inside lower lid of the dumpsters will help reduce the intense and potentially psyche-shattering abandonment trauma experienced by pre-verbal human infants whose parents leave them to die.
"Regular dumpsters are not equipped with this added smiley-face feature," Steep said.
According to Giuliani, the elimination of infants from regular city dumpsters will have an added bonus, creating more dumpster-based, no-cost housing for the city's estimated 400,000 homeless residents, many of whom rely on the heat produced by decomposing organic waste for shelter and survival during New York's often brutal winters.
"By clearing dumpster space of babies, we are opening up vast new living spaces for the urban poor," Giuliani said. "And that's something we can all feel good about."