The abandoned DSNY Marine Transfer Station, and the Marina, viewed from Coney Island Creek Park.
Brooklyn Community Access Television
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“The Environmental Impact Study (EIS)? It’s a joke!”–Bryan Thomas, Gravesend Marina
“Garbage is garbage…and everyone hates it.” –Steve Chung
This week, May 9, 2007, GREENVISION presents â€œBARGING IN-Part II, Bensonhurst fights backâ€, the ongoing story about DSNY (the garbage department) imposing a mega 4000 ton/day Marine Transfer Station (MTS) on Brooklyn and how the community of Bensonhurst came out strong to just say ‘fugetabowdit’!
The show opens with true Brooklynite, Bryan Thomas, giving an exclusive interview to Greenvision’s Rebecca Migdal on the “sorted” (to burn or not to burn) experience he’s had with the Dept. of Sanitation. He tells us that Gravesend Bay was dumped on for 30 years with toxic ash from an illegal incinerator, while DOS tugboat turbulence undermined his sea wall-along with his business. One of Terry Riley’s eerie sound pieces sets the tone, as I again slowly focus on a large white abandoned shed on the bay’s north shore with the letters NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION splayed out above its gaping door. As we showed last week, DOS has newly restyled itself with the deceptively cheery anagram “DSNY” (Disney) and is planning to build another three MTSâ€™s along the City’s waterfront.
Five years ago the formative plan to build the â€œSouthwest Brooklyn MTSâ€ was generally applauded as a wise expedient-it would eliminate the OUTgoing private semi’s. But, the INcoming DOS trucks will keep rolling. Also, in this latest “solution” to the City’s garbage problem, Gravesend Bay will be dredged along Bryan’s sea wall to allow larger ocean going barges to dock. The smelly details of this plan for Bensonhurst residents have finally been ‘unearthed’–the dredging would stir up poisons, like PCBâ€™s, lead, mercury, cadmium and the most toxic substance known-dioxin, which settled to the bottom as layers of relatively benign silt…benign, as long as it isn’t disturbed! The incinerator was finally forced to close in the nineties under intense community pressure (like the kind of pressure they’re getting now).
The old MTS site also came under fire in the 80â€™s after medical waste, originating from the poorly run facility, washed ashore from New Jersey to Maine-not to mention fouling Coney Island beach less than two miles away!
Still, Gravesend has its charms-walking at sunset through the sensual dunes in one of three nearby parks, chartering a fishing boat at Bryan’s marina or just fishin’ from the shore. Edible (though questionable) prizes of sea bass, albacore and yellow fin are still pulled from these waters. But the dredging would particularly threaten endangered species like the short nose sturgeon, that pass through on their way to their mating grounds in the Hudson.
The community is fighting back. At the April 16th â€œEnvironmental Justice Informational Meetingâ€ at Shore Parkway Jewish Center, that Green Party activist Mitchel Cohen helped organize, I show Assistant Commissioner Harry Szarpanski trying to soft-pedal the stationâ€™s environmental impact. Local residents and organizations (like the Urban Divers) and some elected officials weren’t buying it. They learned that Cropsey Avenue, a major artery in Bensonhurst, is slated to become a choked-up route for ONE HUNDRED TRUCKS PER DAY!! At the meeting Bryan said, “My customers will complain, ‘why am I sitting here in the middle of all these garbage trucks for 45 minutes when I can just go somewhere else?” Indeed, but the problem is not simply an ‘inconvenience’ for Bryan’s customers. The fine diesel particles from the trucks choking Cropsey will end up in people’s lungs increasing the likelihood of asthma and other diseases!
Please, stay tuned to GREENVISION for updates on this breaking story and other exciting stories about ordinary people propelled into action to become…extraordinary.
Thanks for watching,
Rebecca Migdal, host
Carl Lawrence, producer
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. We can dramatically reduce solid waste voluntarily! Insist on tighter standards for domestic and commercial waste production. Compost at your community garden. Reward businesses that provide consumers with low-waste packaging options, and restaurants that use china and silverware instead of throwaway dishes and utensils. Regulate the disposal of construction rubbish. For more info on how to live lightly on the earth, go to: http://www.globalstewards.org/ecotips.htm
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