Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Bunch of Garbage

It’s been over two decades since New York’s infamous garbage barge cruised world ports, reminding us somewhat of the hopelessness of a refugee in search of a final friendly destination. While the barge cruises no more, the garbage issues that sent it on its journey remain with us today.

Errol Louis in his column in today’s Daily News discusses one troublesome aspect of the city’s current garbage problem: environmental justice. He is absolutely correct, as are the environmental justice folks who have brought this point forward, that three communities are unfairly bearing the burden of almost all of the city’s residential and commercial waste.

What he, and the groups that are pressing Gifford Miller on the opening of the 91st transfer station, fail to mention is that the key garbage issues New York is facing are:

1) Cost of export

2) Waste reduction

The enviros' smug satisfaction of having wealthier East Siders experience what the folks in Williamsburg, South East Queens and the South Bronx must go through everyday blinds them to the fact that the Bloomberg plan has no answer to the crucial issue of waste reduction and, because it fails on this score, condemns us to being prisoners of the export-landfill mentality whose cost increases exponentially as landfill space and the tolerance of other jurisdictions wane.

That is why the Alliance has been so vociferous on expanding the use of garbage disposers. We will post more on this but clearly reducing the smelly, putrescible (spoilable) waste and finding ways of controlling disposal in a self-sustained (read: non-export) manner is absolutely essential.

Final Thought: Mayor’s Recycling Prescriptions Called “Groundbreaking”

As part of the Mayor’s Solid Waste Management Program he is required to address how to increase the level of recycling. In the DOS report the administration’s proposals are called “groundbreaking” (bottom of page two) but in reality they are anything but. Aside from the usual refuge of the clueless: “better education,” there is absolutely nothing said on how to enhance recycling activity. In fact, the only way these proposals could be called groundbreaking is if the mayor is digging with a plastic spoon.