At a rally on the steps of City Hall last week, council members were joined by environmental justice, labor, public health, and community advocates in calling for the passage of Intro 495, which addresses the discriminatory siting of waste facilities in New York City.
Seventy-five percent of all waste processed in New York City is trucked to and from just three communities: North Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and Southeast Queens. Each day, thousands of diesel trucks haul waste in and out of these communities, harming the environment, quality of life, and health of residents, critics say.
In 2006, the city passed the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) to promote a more environmentally-friendly waste processing system and to address the concentration of waste in these neighborhoods.
Intro 495 would reduce the amount of trash sent to the overburdened neighborhoods by 18 percent or about 2,700 tons per day. Reductions would occur as new capacity at the city’s marine transfer stations becomes operational and would be targeted at worst-actor facilities in the overburdened communities.
It would also create a cap for New York City community districts so that no community in the future is unfairly overburdened with garbage.
“In New York City, three communities bear the burden of processing more than three quarters of the city’s solid waste,” said Councilman Stephen Levin of Brooklyn. “This legislation will make the system more equitable and will bring desperately needed relief to overburdened communities.”
“Intro 495 is a critical step towards achieving waste equity in New York City,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “North Brooklyn, the South Bronx and Southeast Queens have borne the vast majority of NYC’s waste burden for far too long.”