What a waste! Residents and local leaders protest Bensonhurst garbage depot plan • Brooklyn Paper

What a waste! Residents and local leaders protest Bensonhurst garbage depot plan

No-ney Island: Coney Island History Project director and Coney Island Creek activist Charles Denson was at the June 1 rally against the proposed Gravesend Bay waste transfer station.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Gravesend activists are giving new meaning to the phrase “waste not, want not.”

Resident, elected officials, and environmental activists rallied at Shore Parkway and Bay 41st Street against a city garbage shipping terminal proposed for the site.

A who’s who of local electeds teamed up with Pledge 2 Protect, a clean air and water advocacy to group, to organize the demonstration — and to argue that the planned waste transfer station, where garbage trucks will dump off residential trash to be packed and loaded onto barges, poses a threat to the communities along Gravesend Bay.

Opponents of the trash depot have long argued that construction of the garbage terminal would stir up toxic residues — including carcinogenic pesticides — left behind from a trash incinerator that formerly operated on the site.

“This project will exacerbate contaminated conditions in Gravesend Bay,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island). “The public has a right to have serious concerns and public officials have an obligation to act.”

Objectors also claim that the terminal will clog streets with fleets of garbage trucks, polluting the air over Southern Brooklyn. Residents claimed this would constitute a systemic injustice to people impacted by 2012’s devastating hurricane.

“People of Southern Brooklyn suffered a lot after Superstorm Sandy. Now they need a clean and safe environment more than ever,” argued activist Ben Akselrod. “The proposed Gravesend garbage transfer station creates an additional and unnecessary burden to families and small businesses that are still rebuilding after Sandy.”

The Manhattan-based Pledge 2 Protect claims that a greater emphasis on recycling, composting, and converting trash into energy would eliminate the need for waste transfer stations altogether. The group hopes that the new administration will reconsider the plans, which were laid under Mayor Bloomberg.

“We call on Mayor DeBlasio to hit the pause button on the outdated Bloomberg Solid Waste Management Plan and conduct an audit of its ballooning costs, its negative health, safety, and environmental impacts, and the actual lack of relief it provides to overburdened communities,” said Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, president of Pledge 2 Protect. “We know there’s a better solution.”

The city has maintained that the claims of danger are spurious, and the project has passed all legal hurdles to going through — including a lawsuit last year.

There is no date set for construction to begin, but the Department of Sanitation said that the paperwork has already been forwarded to the Comptroller’s office, and work can begin as soon as the contract is registered.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
Pledging her time: Kelly Nimmo-Guenther of environmental group Pledge 2 Protect speaks out against the facility.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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