“Hold the Garbage” says City Council to DSNY

City Council members Antonio Reynoso (D-34), Steven Levin (D-33), Daneek Miller (D-27) and Rafael Salamanca (D-17) have written and sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio asking to postpone contracts regarding organic waste recycling last Friday at a budget hearing.

The four members of the council has openly expressed their concern over a set of contracts that the Department of Sanitation’s Commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, sent to Comptroller Scott Stringer. The council members herald from parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens say that the Department’s plans will only increase waste and pollutant build-up in those areas that already are affected by so much garbage.

“These contracts would allow for increased organic waste processing at certain waste transfer stations in the city to support the Department’s expansion of its curbside organics collection program,” the letter stated.

Organic waste, according to the Department’s website, are any “food scraps, spoiled food, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings and plants.” These substances are to be recycled into renewable energy and compost. By the end of 2016, the Department is looking to expand the organic waste curbside pickup to more areas and reaching one million city residents.

However, the council members’ say those plans for expansion are a problem in terms of traffic and overall pollution, negating the effects of creating a greener New York with less refuse, as is the Department’s goal.

“The excess truck traffic that results means that residents in these communities are exposed to high levels of air and noise pollution, suffer the effects of breathing polluted air, and are forced to navigate dangerous streets,” the letter mentioned. An increase in air pollutants would rise to increased Medicaid costs from the respiratory problems that would arise, the council argued.

The council members are willing to work with the Department to create better alternatives for organic waste pickup.

“We look forward to working with DSNY to identify alternative locations, and to supporting the expansion of the curbside organics program.”

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