December 1, 2015
North Brooklyn residents held a forum on November 30th, 2015, to push for City action on waste transfer stations. The residents called for legislation to reign in private sanitation companies and enforcement to stop ongoing abuses. The event was hosted by Clean Up North Brooklyn, Transform Don’t Trash NYC, El Puente, and New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, and assisted more than 150 people, most of them whom are residents and business owners affected by the daily operations of the Brooklyn Transfer Waste Station located in Thames and Grattan Streets in Bushwick.
The private facilities, which serve as weigh stations for garbage on its way to landfills out of state, are concentrated in North Brooklyn and other low income communities in the city. Community members detailed a long list of complaints against one facility, Brooklyn Transfer Station, including dangerous truck traffic, air pollution, and toxic smells. The facility is close to several residential buildings and is just one of many in North Brooklyn, which takes 40% of the city’s trash.
Five Star Carting, which operates Brooklyn Transfer Station, was scrutinized at City Council hearing in April. Two Five Star sanitation workers testified about poor working conditions and were fired by the company days later. At the forum last night, community members called on the City to address issues at Brooklyn Transfer Station or close the facility, but also demanded legislation to protect all New York City neighborhoods from such abuses.
El Puente GLD team member Violeta Trinidad translates the testimonies of Bushwick community members.
City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who was present at the forum, represents North Brooklyn and chairs the Council’s Sanitation Committee. He has sponsored Intro 495, which would cap the number of transfer stations that can be located in any one community.
"We must demand our human rights to a clean environment. They may treat us like the garbage they haul into our neighborhood, but we as people of dignity, will haul them out!"
-Luis Garden Acosta, Founder and President of El Puente
To learn more about this campaign and efforts done by the community please visit: https://vimeo.com/146860761
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