City Hall Testimony about Waste Transfer Stations

New York City Council Intro 157 proposes to limit the maximum capacity of NYC’s waste transfer stations. These stations are disproportionally concentrated in impoverished neighborhoods, adding extra burdens to families—extra truck traffic, polluted streets and polluted air. Limiting capacity at the stations is a first step in a larger, coordinated management plan to make NYC more efficient, and equitable, in handling its waste. Dr. Cappy Collins, of the Long Island Children’s Environmental Health Centers, testified in support of the Introduction at New York City Hall on June 19th, 2018.

Transcript as follows:

[Dr. Collins] Good afternoon, thank you for the opportunity to speak before the City Council.

My name is Dr. Cappy Collins, and I am a pediatrician who works with families in East Harlem.

Air quality is a major factor affecting the health of children, especially in communities beset with disproportionate burdens of traffic, poor housing quality and poverty.  And, East Harlem is one of those communities. 

The parents I work with are doing what they can to preserve the health of their children. Asthma is a big problem, with higher rates in East Harlem than almost anywhere in the country. Parents can take care of doctor appointments and keeping up with medications. That’s within their power.

They cannot control the garbage trucks idling on the streets, criss-crossing the streets and barreling up the avenues as they haul thousands of tons of waste per day through their neighborhood, en route to disposal sites in other impoverished neighborhoods in the South Bronx.  

Combustion exhaust, contains hydrocarbons, soot, ozone, and carcinogenic chemicals like benzene and makes asthma worse. I can’t prescribe a medication for this; and families can’t protect themselves from the polluted air they breathe.  We need help. And help is at hand. As a community of New Yorkers, we can make the air better through legislation.

Limiting the maximum capacity at our waste transfer stations is a first step toward clean air. I urge the Council to support Intro 157 and continue building a just city that allows children and families to thrive.

Thank you.

[Councilmember Antonio Reynoso] Thank you. Appreciate your testimony from a pediatrician. Just thinking about the health effects, a lot of people may take it for granted, I just happen to recently have a newborn baby.

[Dr. Collins] Congratulations.

[Mr. Reyes] When I walk outside now, I think about it completely differently. I think about trucks, I cross streets differently…

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