Plan to truck garbage through Maspeth stinks
by Will Yakowicz
Jul 21, 2009 | 4264 views | 0 0 comments | 137 137 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Tony Avella joined residents of Maspeth this weekend to protest a proposal to ship garbage from Long Island City to a railyard in Maspeth
Councilman Tony Avella joined residents of Maspeth this weekend to protest a proposal to ship garbage from Long Island City to a railyard in Maspeth
Some 65 protesters, including neighbors, Community Board 5 members and elected officials, rallied at Maspeth's Clinton Diner Saturday morning against Waste Management's (WM) plan to make Maspeth the terminal destination for 144 sanitation trucks a day.

During the rally, led by Christina Wilkinson, president of the Newtown Historical Society, 15 trucks an hour clunked and chugged noisily along. Wilkinson, voice blasting from a megaphone, shouted to the rally's attendees about WM's "stupid" and "ridiculous" plan.

WM is proposing to bring garbage from Community boards 1 through 6 to 38-22 Review Avenue in Long Island City, load the garbage into intermodal containers, and drive them by truck 1.5 miles to the Maspeth Rail Yard to be shipped out-of-state.

Approximately 144 more sanitation trucks will be driven through Maspeth everyday. According to Wilkinson, 1,000 trucks of trash every week will add to West Maspeth's already polluted condition.

"For far too long, Maspeth has been burdened by truck traffic, bus traffic and far too many of our young kids are suffering from asthma and breathing issues and we have to look at what causes this," said Crowley, whose comments were interrupted by shouting and applause. "Everyone knows trucks produce pollution and hurt quality of life. I challenge Waste Management's plan and ask them to go back to the drawing board."

WM's plan is part of the city recently approved 20-year solid waste management plan, which aims for borough self-sufficiency when it comes to handling waste, as well as reducing the amount of garbage that is shipped out of the city by large trucks. Keith Mellis, a Department of Sanitation spokesperson, was contacted by phone and declined comment.

During the rally, trucks drowned out speeches, protestors crossed their arms over their chests and jeered, "What? We can't hear you! Too many trucks!"

Michael Fiorino, who has lived in Maspeth for 83 years, said pointing in various directions, "We have garbage here, garbage there, everywhere!"

The officials at the rally support a rail-only garbage removal plan, claiming that Long Island City has a railroad at the current garbage transfer station that connects to the Maspeth Rail Yard, so there is no reason for trucks to make double trips through their neighborhood.

Waste Management could not be reached for this article. Earlier this month, after CB5 voted down their plan, a WM spokesperson said the company would address community concerns over the project.

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