North Brooklyn made a strong showing at the City Council, last Friday, demanding long awaited environmental justice for the community.
Rows of yellow OUTRAGE (Organization United for Trash Reduction & Garbage Equity) t-shirts filled the Council Chambers in support of Introduction 1170, legislation, which if passed, will give North Brooklyn, Jamaica, Queens and the South Bronx the relief from pollution they expected, but didn’t receive, from the City’s 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP). Nearly 75 percent of the City’s waste is processed in these three communities which house 27 of the City’s 38 transfer stations.
Sponsored by 14 Councilmembers, including Diana Reyna, Steve Levin and Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Chair Tish James, Intro. 1170 calls on the City to first reduce the waste processing capacity in each area, by 2015, to 125 percent of average district-wide throughput (the waste that passes through a transfer station daily) and then by an additional 18 percent of each district’s average weekly throughput. The legislation also caps, at five percent, the total amount of the City’s waste that can be handled in any one community district.
“The ultimate goal is to make our waste processing system fair and equitable,” Reyna wrote in a recent letter. “It is unacceptable that any one community should be burdened with handling the waste of an entire city.”
Intro. 1170 also takes aim at the truck traffic associated with waste processing. Research has shown that air pollution from diesel exhaust is directly linked to increased rates of asthma, heart and lung diseases, higher blood pressures and cancer. It takes around 1,750 truck trips to move approximately 7,000 tons of garbage in and out of North Brooklyn. If 1170 passes, that equates to a reduction of approximately 1,200 tons of garbage (345 truck trips).
“By reducing the total amount of waste handled in communities overburdened by disproportionate amounts of waste handling, this legislation helps make New York a fairer, more equitable city,” Levin said. “Neighborhoods like the ones I represent will benefit greatly into the future because of the actions we take today.”
Testifying on behalf of the Sanitation Department, Commissioner John Doherty opposed Intro. 1170, saying the bill “severely jeopardizing the City’s ability to manage its waste safely and expediently.”
The full text of the bill is available at http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1489541&GUID=7A5C5EF4-3B0E-4596-8D7F-05076E3D715E&Options=ID|Text|&Search=1170.