The Upper East Side and North Brooklyn Are Waging Garbage Wars

03/26/2012 4:18 PM |

Site of the proposed 91st Street marine transfer station.
  • Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
  • Site of the proposed 91st Street marine transfer station.

For years, North Brooklyn has borne a considerable amount of the city’s trash burden. Trucks clog up routes to and from the area’s waste transfer stations, 19 of the city’s 58 in total. But being the city’s temporary dumping ground and handling 40 percent of its waste isn’t just an unsightly problem—decreased air quality because of diesel combustion means that North Brooklyn also has a significant, asthma-related public health issue at hand.

OUTRAGE, or the Organization United for Trash and Garbage Equity, a coalition of North Brooklyn civic groups, has campaigned fiercely for a solid waste management plan that would split the garbage among the boroughs more equitably. Six years ago, a new solid waste management plan passed, and the city called for a marine transfer station to be built at 91st Street, on the East River. But Upper East Siders don’t want a transfer station, air pollution and increased truck traffic on their turf either. A group called Residents for Sane Trash Solutions (RSTS), is raising money to oppose the station for these reasons, and now the two groups are locked in a Facebook popularity war, reports DNAinfo.

One member of OUTRAGE, which wants the east side facility to ease pressure on the Brooklyn neighborhoods, took to Facebook earlier this month pleading for more friends, and worried that that RSTS had far more “likes.”

“We need you to like us,” OUTRAGE organizer Courtney Renken wrote on Facebook. “We may not have the same funding as this group of people, but we have the numbers and an amazing North Brooklyn community willing to fight for equity.”

The problem with the 91st Street transfer station, RSTS asserts, is that the garbage truck path would cut right through residential communities and Asphalt Green, a popular set of playgrounds and sports fields. Kids then, would be directly exposed to some of the worst side effects of the project.

Unfortunately, this is already the case in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. In 2009, according to the Department of Health, the asthma hospitalization rate was nearly 45 per 10,000 visits for children under 4. The Upper East Side’s rate was less than half of Brooklyn’s, at 21 per 10,000 visits.

RSTS has proposed putting a facility in the less densely-populated Hunts Point, in the South Bronx, instead. However, as DNAinfo points out, building a facility to handle Manhattan’s trash in the Bronx runs counter to Bloomberg’s waste goals. The 2006 plan is supposed to shift responsibility back to the individual boroughs to deal with their own garbage.

[via DNAinfo]

You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone