Koreans in borough get translation of trash laws

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As part of a campaign to increase compliance with sanitation laws among the city's foreign-language speakers, the Department of Sanitation has released a Korean translation of its rules, officials announced at a Tuesday news conference in Flushing.

The city's "Digest of Codes," which explains laws from syringe disposal to sign posting to canine waste, is now available in Korean. The pamphlet had already been translated into Chinese, Hebrew and Russian, and a Spanish translation is nearly complete.

"Part of our responsibility to every community in the city is outreach," said Sanitation Community Affairs Officer Thomas Fitzgerald at the news conference held in the office of Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing). "We have to make sure that every citizen, every property owner is aware of his or her responsibilities."

The Sanitation Department hired translators to write the pamphlets. Korean-speaking staff members at Liu's office assisted in the translation, reviewing the document before it was published.

Yanghee Hahn, executive vice president of the Korean-American Association of Flushing, said many newcomers to Queens were unaware of the details of sanitation laws.

"You would presume immigrants know what Americans know, but that's not true," she said.

The Korean translations are part of a recent push by Liu and local business leaders to clean up the downtown Flushing area, which has been plagued by overflowing trash cans, litter and grease dumped down the storm sewers by restaurant workers.

At the beginning of his term last year, Liu appropriated some of his discretionary funds to provide larger trash cans for the area. Liu has also made establishing a Business Improvement District for downtown Flushing a priority. Local property owners are expected to vote on a BID plan in several months.

"It's in the natural interest of everybody ... to have a very clean community and environment," Liu said.

In the meantime, a group of Chinese business owners has hired three workers of the Doe Fund, a nonprofit organization which employs the homeless, to clean Main Street.

The Korean-American Association of Flushing has also employed a worker to take care of Union Street, which is the center of Korean businesses in the downtown.

Hahn also hoped the cleanup of the area would have other positive benefits.

"The cleaner our neighborhood, the lower our crime rate," Hahn said. "Dirtiness and the crime rate go side by side."

Anyone who would like to obtain a copy of the "Digest of Codes" or has sanitation complaints can call 212-219-8090.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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