Bill Protecting Health of Those Living Near Waste Transfer Stations Introduced in CouncilSubmitted by MMcEnerney on Thu, 11/12/2015 - 12:22pm
Bill Protecting Health of Those Living Near Waste Transfer Stations Introduced in Council
New York, NY – A group of council members introduced a bill today calling on the Department of Environmental Protection to work in collaboration with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to monitor pollutants at all marine transfer stations in the City. As additional stations come online in the coming years, concerns have been raised about how these new facilities, and the hundreds of additional trucks entering and exiting each station each day, will affect the air quality in surrounding residential neighborhoods.
Despite citywide efforts in recent years to improve air quality, according to data from DOHMH, air quality in some neighborhoods has remained poor. Poor air quality, such as the presence of fine particulate matter, can aggravate symptoms of asthma, impair lung function, and lead to cardiovascular disease.
"The first step in protecting our health is to have the information needed to understand the situation,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, whose district includes the planned marine transfer station on E. 91st street. “My district already has some of the worst air quality in the City and I have serious concerns about making a bad situation worse when hundreds of sanitation trucks begin driving through the neighborhood each day and idling as they wait to enter the station.”
"In order to manage it, you need to be able to measure it. Regular monitoring is an easy and common sense way to ensure that the air we breathe is safe," said Council Member Dan Garodnick.
"Residents in my district are unfortunately all too familiar with the effects of harmful chemicals released into the air because of an illegal incinerator that operated for decades at the very site where a Waste Transfer Station is being built today, dredging up those same hazardous elements and polluting the water and air of our community. This is a site in dire need of environmental remediation, not work that will potentially spread more dangerous particles throughout the air and water. Testing the air quality around Waste Transfer stations ensures that projects which could put the health of New Yorkers at risk are subjected to the most rigorous of standards," said Council Member Mark Treyger.
It is vitally important that we continue to monitor the air quality in the neighborhoods surrounding the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station and any community in which a Waste Transfer Station is constructed,” said Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright. “It is imperative that the fine particulate matter emitted by the garbage trucks entering and exiting the site be closely examined and managed to minimize the impact on the community, especially the already asthma-plagued community of East Harlem.”
“Each day, children from low income families who live in public housing and frail seniors who live nearby come our Neighborhood Centers engage in programs that support health and wellness. The opening of the 91st Street Transfer Station – just 300 feet away – is going to have a devastating impact on a community where there is already higher than average rates of asthma and obesity. Without clear guidelines, consistent monitoring, and a commitment from the City to fight for us, our children will be sicker and our seniors are certain to become homebound," said Gregory J Morris, President and Executive Director, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center