New York, NY, June 9, 2014 – Pledge 2 Protect (P2P) and Asphalt Green launched their first television ad today, aimed at educating New Yorkers about the risks of the remaining components of the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) adopted by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Although most of the SWMP has been adopted, two Marine Transfer Stations (MTSs) remain to be built that the City maintains are key to the plan. In particular, the East 91st Street MTS is slated for construction in one of the most densely populated areas of New York City and sited so it would cut through the center of Asphalt Green’s 5.5-acre sports and recreational campus. Building this MTS will expose 34,000 children who use Asphalt Green to the toxic fumes and safety hazards created by hundreds of garbage trucks driving on a ramp that will bisect this sports facility six days a week, 24 hours a day.
“Trucks driving where kids play is just dangerous,” says seven-year-old Nissi Kyomukama (choh-moo-kah-mah) Flynn in the ad. “We deserve better.” Nissi, a Yorkville resident and P.S. 151 student, participated in subsidized swimming lessons during the school year at Asphalt Green and attends summer day camp there via a scholarship program.
In this first ad, Nissi shows viewers how dangerously close garbage trucks will drive next to children going into and out of Asphalt Green. As currently designed, a truck ramp would sit only 11 feet from Asphalt Green’s toddler playground, and would run alongside virtually the entire roadside perimeter of Asphalt Green’s sports fields. Hundreds of garbage trucks a day would enter and exit on this ramp, exposing children to cancer-causing diesel fumes and creating the potential for deadly truck-related accidents. No other MTS site is in an area as densely populated or as close to recreational facilities, parks, playgrounds, schools and hospitals.
The 30-second spot will air on local New York City television stations and be distributed through social media.
Pledge 2 Protect and its coalition partners, Asphalt Green, S.T.R.O.N.G. Southern Brooklyn and NYCHA for NYCHA, among others, have been calling on the de Blasio Administration to “press pause” on moving ahead with plans to build Marine Transfer Stations at East 91st Street in Manhattan and Gravesend Bay in Southwest Brooklyn to show good faith while negotiations are underway to address community concerns.
“Last week, we paused our ad launch while we continued to discuss our concerns with the Administration, and the City responded by cutting down trees that provided critical summertime shade to our children,” said Pledge 2 Protect President Kelly Nimmo-Guenther. “Now that the City has made it clear that they won’t pause construction, we need to educate New Yorkers about why it makes sense to consider the better, more progressive alternatives that we are proposing.”
Carol Tweedy, Executive Director of Asphalt Green stated, “The proposed ramp would slice our facility in half, and expose the thousands of children and families who use our facilities daily–many of them benefitting from our nonprofit services–to health and safety risks the City cannot defend. This is simply the wrong place to put a garbage facility. So far, we have not seen a serious proposal from the City that would adequately address the safety concerns we have for the children who depend on our facility.”
The ad campaign is part of a broader effort that includes more ads, grassroots and other activities to continue to educate New Yorkers about the negative impacts of remaining components of the Bloomberg SWMP, and how these components will harm new communities. Some SWMP components will provide meaningful relief to communities that have borne disproportionate impacts of the current trash system, while others will not. For example, the Hamilton Avenue and North Shore MTSs will divert hundreds of trucks from transfer stations in low-income communities and communities of color in Brooklyn and Queens. In contrast, the East 91st Street MTS will handle Manhattan trash that does not go to transfer stations in other NYC boroughs, so its construction will not reduce truck traffic in communities near transfer stations in other boroughs. The Gravesend Bay facility will not reduce truck miles in Brooklyn in any meaningful way, either.
Regine LaCourt, a resident of low-income NYCHA housing adjacent to the proposed East 91st Street MTS and one of the eight arrested in front of the MTS ramp a few weeks ago, explained: “I fear for my children’s safety and for their health. Yet again, we have an administration dumping garbage on thousands of disadvantaged people while saying this is the right thing to do to make other parts of the City better. Really? My children and my neighbors are sacrificial lambs to a plan that does not make sense anywhere and certainly not here.”
Pledge 2 Protect has challenged the Administration to be the architects of a progressive solution that is environmentally-sound, cost-effective and sustainable for future generations. The Bloomberg plan perpetuates a truck-, rail-, and barge-driven system that is outdated, far more costly, and that moves trash around instead of reducing the City’s overall waste tonnage and move New Yorkers toward a more modern system. For more on viable alternatives, click here to read “Talking Trash” and click here for the related press release.
About Pledge 2 Protect
Pledge 2 Protect is a growing coalition of diverse citizens of the City who are working together to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers by raising awareness of the fiscal, environmental and community impacts of the City’s current solid waste management system and plan. Initially founded to alert the City’s elected officials about the risks of building the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station in Manhattan, the coalition’s mission has expanded. The organization is dedicated to ensuring major waste facilities are not built in ANY residential neighborhood anywhere in the city and that New York City’s Solid Waste Management Plan is driven by modern, sustainable and cost-effective solutions that relieve communities historically overburdened with waste-driven issues without shifting the harm to other communities. For more information, please visit www.pledge2protect.org or www.p2pnyc.org.
About Asphalt Green
Asphalt Green is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting individuals of all ages and backgrounds achieve health through a lifetime of sports and fitness. Community service is at the core of our origin and at the heart of our mission. A city-wide agency, Asphalt Green has two first class campuses: a beautiful 5½-acre Upper East Side campus and a 52,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Battery Park City. Through its FIT KIDS FIT CITY fundraising campaign, Asphalt Green will help 30,000 public school children be fit this year through free programs in schoolyards, gymnasiums, and pools across New York City. www.asphaltgreen.org