Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Solid Plan

Our brother Eddie Bautista's guest op-ed in Sunday's Daily News is a must-read for all those concerned about the city's, and the region's, trash issues. Here it is in full:

Each borough should handle its own trash


Plans to change the city's sanitation program so that garbage gets floated
out of the city on barges - not hauled out of town on trucks every day -
represent a smart, fair way to correct a terrible injustice in how New York
handles its trash.

Right now, it literally takes millions of truck trips a year to get the
city's trash out of town - and over 80% of the garbage is trucked, stored, and
bundled for interstate transport at waste transfer stations in just four of New
York's 59 community districts.

Not one waste transfer facility is in Manhattan; most are concentrated in
low-income communities in the South Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.

The diesel fumes from all the trucks carry high concentrations of fine
particulate matter, contributing to the staggeringly high rates of asthma in
these neighborhoods.

The city's environmental leaders, including Marcia Bystryn of the League of
Conservation Voters and Mark Izeman of the Natural Resources Defense Council,
are united in calling for an end to this injustice. The new Solid Waste
Management Plan proposed by the mayor is an important step in the right

The plan would convert many city-owned properties - distributed equitably
around the city's waterfront - into state-of-the art marine transfer stations.
Every barge used to float trash away would carry the equivalent of 15 long-haul

Most importantly, under the mayor's plan each borough would handle its own
waste at these waterfront locations.

The big challenge of making the plan work is Manhattan. The borough
generates more than 40% of New York's commercial putrescible waste - the
smelliest, rotting garbage - but it all gets trucked daily to communities in
Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

Manhattan has three dormant marine transfer stations that were operational
until a few years ago - at 59th St. and 12th St. on the Hudson River and 91st
St. on the East River. These are ideal locations for new stations that use good
design, new technology and a smart operational plan to handle the borough's

It's unjust for communities of color and working-class New Yorkers in the
outer boroughs to bear the city's trash burden alone. Fairness demands that each
borough needs to be responsible for its own waste, and the mayor's plan will
make sure that happens.

Eddie Bautista is lead organizer of the Organization of Waterfront

No comments: