If you walk, work or worse live on Thames Street in East Williamsburg, you’re more than familiar with the debilitating smell pervading the air from the nearby Brooklyn Waste Transfer Facility.
16 North Brooklyn facilities receive approximately 40% of all of the New York City’s garbage, which is almost 20,000 tons. But Bushwick and East Williamsburg residents most affected by the Five Star Facility at the corner of Thames Street and Porter Avenue have had enough. This past Monday night, a community meeting organized by a group Clean Up North Brooklyn has brought together neighbors, residents, small business owners. Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who is also the Chair of Sanitation Committee at the City Council, was also in the attendance. The agenda of the public forum was to inform elected officials and local residents of the environmental and public health risks facing the North Brooklyn community in relationship to solid waste.
The meeting attendees were very critical of the privately owned Five Star Facility. The doors at the facility are apparently commonly left opened ajar for no good reason. The truck drivers are often creating dangerous conditions on the street and the sheer frequency of the garbage trucks rushing to the facility is staggering, complained the attendees. One speaker that said he counted 39 trucks driving by while he was hanging out on his stoop between 4:30PM and 5PM, wrote Nicole Disser for Bedford & Bowery.
Residents say that the trucks are often left idle for over three minutes permitted by law causing the dangerous diesel fumes, which are known to exacerbate asthma symptoms to build up. According to studies Bushwick has one of the highest asthma rates in the city.
Moreover, the workers of the Five Star Facility have testified during a City Council debate in April that they are often treated worse than the garbage they pick up.
A bill that could help the current arrangement has been introduced to the City Council more than a year ago. It aims to spread out the waste processing facilities in each district, decreasing the uneven burden and the amount of trash coming to the the low-income areas and communities of color — North Brooklyn, South Bronx and southeastern Queens. According to CM Reynoso the bill has 28 supporters who signed it but still has ways to go before it can be passed by lawmakers.
This Anti-Garbage Meeting in Bushwick Got Pretty Steamy [Bedford & Bowery]
Video created by Clean Up North Brooklyn.