Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Helping Grind Asthma to a Halt

In today's NY Daily News, on World Asthma Day, Errol Louis takes off on the city's lackluster effort against disease. He points out that the EPA has only one event scheduled for the entire state in spite of the fact that we are in the midst of an asthma epidemic that afflicts 300,000 school-age children in NYC.

In addition he also mentions the fact that New York's air quality was ranked dead last by the federal agency and is, "chock-full of chemicals and particles that trigger asthma attacks." Louis feels that it is time for "big ideas" since we are "choking to death on smog."

In calling for an ambitious assault on asthma EL focuses on the issue that the Alliance has been harping on for the past three years: the control of food waste. He approvingly cites the Alliance's efforts to get DEP permission to install commercial food waste disposers (FWDs) in the city's supermarkets, restaurants and bodegas; "an alternative to our current practice of storing garbage in dumpsters, where rats and roaches feast on it."

In doing so Louis endorses Intro 133, a bill that seeks to establish a pilot program for FWDs. As he says, "We should let the store owners try a three-year pilot program with the grinders and see how many garbage-filled trucks they can get off the streets."

When the city of Philadelphia mandated FWDs it did so for reasons of public health. The fact that the use of these devices will also lead to significant waste reduction and a lessening of the city's dependence on exporting garbage, only adds to the importance of testing out their efficacy. It is only through such a test that we will be able to determine how accurate are the wailings of the grinder opponents.