October 10, 2014
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – Council Members, environmental justice advocates, and community-based organizations rallied for waste equity legislation on October 7th prior to a hearing on the distribution of solid waste. The bill, sponsored on October 7th by Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso, is aimed at an equitable distribute of solid waste management throughout the city. The proposed legislation will decrease permitted capacity for waste processing in overburdened communities and cap permitted capacity for each community. This legislative initiative will provide safeguards to ensure that every community handle their fair share.
Council Member Stephen Levin said, “For communities like the one I represent, there is no truth to the saying, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. North Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and Southeast Queens have been forced to bear the burden of the majority of the city’s waste for too long and have only suffered its consequences. This bill will promote a more equitable waste system in New York City and will ensure that no community becomes the next North Brooklyn, South Bronx, or Southeast Queens.”
New York City creates 35,000 tons of garbage every day. Under the current system, waste transfer stations are concentrated in just a few neighborhoods – North Brooklyn, Southeast Queens, and the South Bronx, which together process about three quarters of all of the city’s solid waste. Garbage trucks needlessly travel thousands of miles throughout New York City polluting the air and clogging streets.
In 2006, New York City passed a landmark Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) that would eliminate nearly 6 million truck miles in New York City every year and distribute waste impacts fairly. The current legislation would follow through on the SWMP’s commitments by reducing waste handled by 18% in each of the three overburdened communities. These 18% reductions would be timed to coincide with the operation of the City’s Marine Transfer Stations, thus minimizing impacts on truck-dependent transfer stations in communities and supporting the SWMP’s important diesel truck reduction goals.
“Here in Southeast Queens, as in parts of North Brooklyn and the South Bronx, we have been disproportionally impacted by poor waste management policies. This legislation provides an opportunity to bring justice to this unjust situation and to clean up our communities,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller.”