In order to fight the mosquito-borne West Nile virus and armed with a recently-tweaked city ordinance, the New York City Health Department is issuing $300 tickets to people with “standing water” on their property. That includes birdbaths.
In a city where Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has all but banned smoking and waged war on soda and trans fats, some New Yorkers may complain that the crackdown on birdbaths is yet another intrusion by the nanny state or a ruse to raise more money for municipal coffers. Actually, a regulation against stagnant water has been on the books for more than a decade, but in the battle against West Nile virus, the health code was amended last year. It explicitly made landlords liable and applied the rule, apparently more broadly, to “standing water” rather than “stagnant water” and further empowered the department not only to prevent “the breeding or harborage” of mosquitoes, but also to prevent “conditions conducive” to their breeding or harborage.
I’m not gonna complain about this one as I’m always trying to figure out how the hell mosquitoes continue to get into my apartment.