Target: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Goal: Protect low income areas from the effects of waste pollution.
With 19 waste transfer stations located in the area, the neighborhood of North Brooklyn receives trucks carrying 34% of the New York City’s total waste – on average 20,000 tons per day. As many as 362 trucks per hour pass through major intersections in the neighborhood, one of the poorest in the city. As a result of the diesel exhaust, children growing up in the area suffer from high rates of asthma, a condition that is significantly more common in North Brooklyn than in areas like Manhattan where there is less garbage truck traffic. Take action to urge Mayor Bloomberg to reroute the trucks or require that the exhaust be filtered and to distribute the city’s waste transfer stations in order to avoid placing the burden of waste disposal entirely on the shoulders of low income communities.
After North Brooklyn, the South Bronx handles a large portion of the city’s waste as well. Children in both areas suffer from asthma levels as high as 15%. “Our children come in at three and four, many with severe asthma diagnoses,” said Par Dobosz, a North Brooklyn preschool teacher. “Last year, I had a class of 18 children and about a third had a pump or aspirator on hand at the school in case of an emergency.”
In addition to the diesel exhaust produced by garbage trucks, pollution is stirred up and particulate matter is released into the air as waste is added and removed from the transfer stations, which increases the risk of asthma for residents of nearby communities. Furthermore, the recent finding that diesel gas is a carcinogen adds the even more serious risk of cancer to its potential effects.
“I’m frustrated that our neighborhood has become a dumping ground,” said North Brooklyn resident Karen Leader. “I know garbage has to go somewhere, but let everyone take their fair share. We’re overburdened.” Two of her five grandchildren have been diagnosed with asthma. Sign the petition below to express your support for her message and to help demand relief for communities like North Brooklyn whose residents presently suffer more than their fair share of the effects of our waste production.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
I understand that the area of North Brooklyn contains 19 waste transfer stations and consequently receives trucks carrying 34% of the total waste produced in the whole of New York City. As many as 362 trucks per hour pass through some major intersections in the neighborhood. And as a result of the high volume of diesel exhaust produced by garbage trucks, children growing up in the area suffer from high rates of asthma.
Across the US, the burdens associated with environmental damage and waste removal in particular fall disproportionately on the shoulders of the poorest communities. “I’m frustrated that our neighborhood has become a dumping ground,” said North Brooklyn resident Karen Leader. “I know garbage has to go somewhere, but let everyone take their fair share. We’re overburdened.” Two of her five grandchildren have been diagnosed with asthma.
I hope that you will consider her message and take action to provide relief for communities like North Brooklyn and the South Bronx where the effects of waste removal are most prominent. I urge you to distribute the city’s waste transfer stations as well as reroute some of the garbage truck traffic and require that filters be installed in the trucks’ exhaust systems to minimize harmful fumes.
[Your Name Here]