Turns out, D.C. has an actual rodent problem

Washington, D.C. has had a major problem with rats for years, and it is reportedly getting worse instead of better.

Washington’s Top News reported Friday that the number of rodent-abatement requests have skyrocketed by a whopping 65 percent in one year, from 2,300 requests in 2015 to over 3,500 requests in 2016.

According to Mayor Muriel Bowser, the plan to get rid of the rats is to take away access to their food supply – seal up the trash.

The city has come up with a grant program (funded by taxpayers) that will award up to $13,500 to small businesses, so they may purchase (or lease) “compactors to collect and compact bulk trash and other waste, including recyclables.”

Applications for the grant will be accepted from June 30, 2017 through September 8, 2017.

Mayor Bowser said in a press release, “We are taking a comprehensive and 21st-century approach to an old problem,” and recommended the following tactics to help fight the problem:

  • Store garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

  • Place trash outside shortly before pickup.

  • Remove weeds and other debris near buildings and in yards.

  • Store food in metal, glass or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

  • Remove uneaten pet food and store pet food in secure containers.

Lastly, the city recommends that residents call or text 311 to report a problem with rats.

The Health Department in DC also has plans to install 25 solar trash cans around the city, which will be rat-proof and generate their own power to compact the trash.

Additionally, 400 “smart” litter bins will be installed in “rat hot spots,” which have a sensor to monitor when the bin is full and crews need to come collect the trash.

A news report in 2013 is evidence that this problem has been ongoing for a long time. Residents reported some of the rats were as large as squirrels.

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