Diverse Coalition Launches to Fight Proposed Garbage Dump at East 91st St., Tens of Thousands to Take Pledge to Support Only Politicians Who Oppose Dangerous Project

New Reports Find Proposed Marine Transfer Station Site is Located near Highest Numbers of Children, Public Housing Units and Residents in All Five Boroughs

Child Hospitalizations Will Increase Up to 8% Due to Increased Emissions

New York, NY – A diverse coalition of residents, organizations and businesses today announced the formation of Pledge 2 Protect (P2P) an organization dedicated to stopping the construction of the proposed East 91st St. Marine Transfer Station (MTS). Among other initiatives, the organization will mobilize tens of thousands of residents to only support politicians who oppose the new garbage dump.

P2P also released two new reports that demonstrate the inappropriateness and danger of locating an MTS in such a dense and diverse residential neighborhood and the severe negative health impacts the trash station could have on the people who live, work and play there. The first report, “Sharing the Garbage Load?” by BFJ Planning examined the proposed East 91st St. MTS against the other six proposed MTS locations and found that more than three times both the total number of residents and children live within a ¼ mile of the East 91st St. location (see table below) compared to the next most populated MTS location.

The BFJ Planning report also found that the East 91st St. location has:

  • 62% more minority residents live in this area than at the other sites;
  • More than 1,100 public housing units – only one other location has any public housing units, and that site’s total is 33;
  • Twice the amount of parks, fitness/recreational areas and bike/pedestrian paths than any other site.

“Contrary to the City’s statement that ‘There will be no impact on the neighborhood,’ we have solid evidence of the health and safety dangers this garbage facility will impose on New Yorkers,” said Pledge 2 Protect President Kelly Nimmo-Guenther.  “We launched the Pledge 2 Protect Coalition to mobilize the thousands who strongly oppose a garbage dump in any densely populated residential community.  New York City’s next mayor and other elected officials need to realize that the selection of the East 91st Street site was a mistake that must be rectified.”

A second report, commissioned by Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, entitled “Air Pollution Impacts on Children from a Waste Transfer Station” found that emissions from diesel emitting garbage trucks, many of them idling mere feet from playing children, will directly affect the lung development of children in the direct vicinity. The garbage trucks and fumes from the MTS will result in an 8% increase in respiratory-related child hospitalizations.

Due to the proximity of children to the trucks as they enter the MTS, the nature of the diesel emissions, the stage of lung development in young children and the low average height of children, Health Report authors found “the operation of this facility will impose health and social costs upon already vulnerable populations in the surrounding neighborhood. Asphalt Green is a uniquely poor site for a waste transfer station because the truck ramps to the station are located in the middle of a children’s recreation area.”

The report also notes that “approximately 31,000 children participated in programs at Asphalt Green during the 2011-2012 school year. Countless others, including  toddlers and infants, use the DeKovats playground that lies within the zone of the highest particulate (PM) concentrates . . . Moreover, the March 2012 update of the Economic Impact Survey (EIS) recognizes that 11 day care centers and 16 schools are situated within the primary and secondary study areas that will be affected by the proposed MTS.”  Additionally the report notes that 18% of the school-aged children in East Harlem, suffer from asthma and 2,000 children from East Harlem and Harlem participate in programs at Asphalt Green. The report follows announcements from the World Health Organization that diesel exhaust is a carcinogenic, new emissions standards from the Environmental Protection Agency, which the East 91st Street MTS would exceed, and a declaration by NYC’s Commissioner of Health that vehicular emissions are harmful to children.

“Diesel exhaust can cause cancer in adults and children and the particulates once inhaled remain in the lungs. They are not expelled through normal respiration,” said Pledge 2 Protect Board Member Dr. York C. Battey. “Furthermore, diesel exhaust can cause pulmonary dysfunction in children even in utero. The negative effects of exposure to diesel exhaust on the lungs of children in utero or during childhood follows them throughout their childhood, worsening their ability to breathe.”

“The trash station threatens the health and safety of the 31,000 children who play at Asphalt Green each year by dramatically increasing carcinogenic emissions near their developing lungs,” said Asphalt Green Executive Director Carol Tweedy. “Six days a week up to 500 garbage trucks a day will be mere feet from the tens of thousands of kids and others who play on Asphalt Green’s fields.”

Stanley M. Isaacs Houses & Holmes Towers resident Lorraine Johnson stated, “The vast majority of residents of Isaacs & Holmes Housing, like myself, cannot afford to move away and will be living next to a huge amount of toxic fumes.  Also, we know these fumes severely affect seniors with respiratory problems and I suffered greatly when the original MTS was in operation.  These buildings are designated Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) so there is a high percentage of senior citizens who live here.”

“Those who think traffic from these trucks will not significantly affect the entire area between Union Square and Harlem, are in for a rude awakening should this MTS be built,” said Jed Garfield, Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, Inc. President. “The City’s maps suggest a major increase in truck traffic on major thoroughfares most utilized by our children.”

“This dangerous and ill-conceived station in Flood Zone A is on top of fitness and recreation areas that include Carl Schurz Park, the Esplanade along the East River and Asphalt Green, which are used by tens of thousands of children from about 50 schools to play and train,” said Andy Lachman, co-founder of Parent Leaders of Upper East Side Schools (P.L.U.S.). “The leaders of this city need to come to their senses and stop this before even one child is put at risk.”

In the coming months, the P2P Coalition will be holding a Pledge 2 Protect community education event, engaging in door-to-door pledge signing drives, communicating to residents the positions politicians have taken on the MTS, releasing reports on the health effects and environmental impact of the proposed dump and engaging in social media campaigns.

Coalition members supporting this issue include Asphalt Green, P.L.U.S., Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, Inc., Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center Inc., East 79th St. Neighborhood Association, The Chapin School, East Side Middle School PTA, East 93rd Street Block Association, NYC Elite, Gracie Point Community Council, local businesses and thousands of New Yorkers.

The petition to protect tens of thousands of New Yorkers and to ensure politicians stand opposed to the East 91st St. MTS is available here.