Thursday, October 06, 2005

Garbage Issue Ignored

Major kudos to Bryan Virasami at Newsday for yesterday's article on the silence of both mayoral campaigns about the city's looming garbage crisis. As we have said before, the mayor effectively (but only cosmetically), removed the issue during his fight with Gifford Miller over transfer station siting. The issue of the mounting cost of disposal and how to mitigate it remains both unexamined and unresolved.

This is clearly pointed out by the Independent Budget Office's Doug Turetsky when he talks about the escalating cost of disposal and the dwindling number of out-of-town venues that are willing to continue to take our garbage. The key variable is, of course, the nettlesome problem of waste reduction, something that remains unaddressed by the mayor's SWMP.

Freddy is missing an opportunity here because without any credible waste reduction strategy the support of "fair share" is reduced to the unimaginative notion that every community must suffer equally. In fact if the Ferrer camp looks at what passes for a waste reduction strategy in the SWMP he will find that, in spite of the hyperbole of a description of the recycling proposals as, "groudbreaking", there's really nothing there (Our comment has been that if the mayor really thinks this is groundbreaking he must be digging with a plastic spoon).

We have been offering a more fiscally responsible and imaginative approach in our support for the comprehensive use of waste disposers. The proposal, waiting on the City Council's support of a pilot program, would reduce garbage exports, truck traffic, disposal costs and help create cleaner neighborhoods. Those who criticize this approach should keep in mind the lack of realistic alternatives and the fiscal calamity that's just around the corner if the city doesn't act creatively.

The most compelling evidence that the use of disposers has a public health benefit is reported convincingly in today's New York Post. The article nicely titled, "'Mices' a Crisis on W. Side", describes the mice epidemic on the West Side. As Penny Ryan, District Manager of CB #7 says, "They're everywhere".

The whole point is that disposers not only help to relieve the garbage export problem but, by reducing the rodent food supply, contribute to the reduction of the rat and mice infestation that is such a public health menace. DM Ryan has the last word: "It's mice in the house, rats in the street...It's getting to be an epidemic. They're just all over the place".