Philadelphia sanitation official responds to worker complaints

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After weeks of complaints about trash piling up and sanitation workers not having proper PPE during the pandemic, Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation Keith Warren said Friday that there has been a lot of misinformation.

"We had personal protective equipment before COVID-19 started. Its part of the standard uniform for collecting trash. We have never run out," Warren said.

The deputy commissioner said yes, while there have been delays on getting supplies, everything from hand sanitizer to a number of different masks are provided to workers daily.

Warren says due to privacy purposes, he couldn't speak to the union, who said more than 100 sanitation workers have contracted COVID-19.

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People all around Philadelphia are complaining of a stinky problem; trash being left on the curb for days past its regular pick up.

The other big concern has been the lag time on trash being picked up. The city says right now, it is about two to three days behind. The deputy commissioner says workers are dealing with 3-4 tons more than average for this time of year.

"A lot of that tonnage would be generated in commercial places or restaurants but people at home ordering packages and the tonnage is up," Warren said.

There's also the possibility of outside help coming to keep up with the intensity, but the city would only say options are being considered.
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