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New report says that NYC is far and away the nation’s dirtiest city

Written by
Clayton Guse

A new report put out by cleaning and janitorial service company Busy Bee confirmed what virtually every New Yorkers already knows: This city is a dirty, dirty place—the dirtiest in the country, in fact. 

The company looked at data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Housing Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau, and it ranked 40 of the largest American metropolitan areas by their respective rates of litter, pest presence, air pollution and population density. New York ranked first for both litter and pests (as well as population density, of course) but did not break into the top five when it came to air pollution. 

Los Angeles and Riverside-San Bernardino ranked second and third on the list, respectively, largely due to their high levels air pollution. Chicago came in at fourth, with Philadelphia securing the fifth spot. If you're keeping score at home, the larger the city, the dirtier it is going to be. 

Like many studies of this kind, Busy Bee's is a marketing ploy from a business looking to sell consumers a service. And like many of these studies, its methodology is slightly dubious—it does not make its data sources readily available to the public. That said, it does paint a better picture of city life than, say, a “study” from Hinge that ranks the best spots for landing a second date. Busy Bee provides a simple breakdown of how its index ranked the cities, and it put together a handy infographic that makes its data slightly transparent. 

Unlike the residents of virtually any other city on this list, New Yorkers will likely take these findings as a badge of honor. Sure, we live in a rat-infested hellhole, but it’s still the greatest rat-infested hellhole on the planet. 

Image: Courtesy Busy Bee

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