In spring 2015, she teamed up with area residents to create the nonprofit organization Cleanup North Brooklyn after a rally was held to support mistreated workers at a local transfer station. .
“They were fired for speaking out on the negative working conditions they experienced,” she said. “When neighbors next to this waste transfer station found out the company was treating their workers poorly and found out it was a privately owned company, that enraged a lot of the residents.”
They began talking about their shared experiences dealing with odors, traffic, pollution and trucks idling, not to mention the waste water that dripped onto sidewalks and streets.
Cleanup North Brooklyn has since pushed for changes to improve the quality of life for its residents.
Chantrtanapichate said the negative impact from the waste transfer station near her apartment has caused her to change her route to the subway.
“I never walk past the station or down Thames Street, which is where the main entrance of the station is,” she said. “I alter my route, which takes a little bit longer.
“I can’t open my windows in my home without the stench of the waste coming in,” she added. “The one day of the week that I can open my windows is Sunday. Even then, huge billows of black dust will sit on my windowsills.”
Her car was damaged by one of the trucks, which Chantrtanapichate said she paid for out of pocket.
But she remains optimistic in their fight. Last week, Cleanup North Brooklyn teamed up with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest to file a lawsuit demanding the transfer station change its practices.
“Our goal is to make them be compliant and operate according to their permit,” Chantrtanapichate said.