The plan is ambitious. It’s a 20-year plan to deal with the processing of residential waste in New York City, and is centered on borough self-sufficiency. In other words, each borough will be responsible for processing their own waste to avoid disasters like the Fresh Kills landfill, where the residents of Staten Island was burdened with shouldering the tens of thousands of tons of garbage New York City produces daily.
Unfortunately, with no real plan in place once Fresh Kills closed, that burden fell primarily on three areas of New York City – East Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Jamaica in Queens, and Hunts Point in the Bronx. Land-based transfer stations, both public and private, were quickly created to deal with the waste, and garbage was taken from sanitation trucks and loaded on to even bigger trucks and shipped out of the city to far-flung landfills.
These neighborhoods quickly became clogged with truck traffic in addition to becoming the city’s dumping grounds.
However, in the future, not only will each borough handle its own trash, almost all of that trash, once collected and dumped, will be shipped out of New York City by either train or barge, taking scores of larger waste trucks off of the streets.
At the Borough Board meeting, there were several concerns voiced about additional DSNY trucks entering and exiting new and retrofitted waste transfer facilities in Queens. This is going to be an issue with all of the new facilities across the five boroughs, but one that can be overcome.
Sure, there will be many more smaller trucks entering and exiting the facility, but they won’t be the large tractor trailers that leave the facilities and then head for the Brooklyn Queens Expressway looking for a way out of town. It will be much easier for the city to mitigate the impact of these collection trucks, and the administration has said it is committed to doing just that.
By and large, the outer boroughs have been open to the SWMP, and the only real opposition to the plan has come from a handful of groups in Manhattan who don’t want transfer facilities in their neighborhoods.
The plan is moving forward, however, and full implementation is just a few years off. While there is still the issue of commercial waste, the SWMP is a fair plan for dealing with the waste that we all produce. While it is okay to raise a stink to keep the city proactive, this is one plan put forth by the administration that deserves the support of every New Yorker.