Dozens rally to “Dump the dump”

The Bay Parkway promenade was filled with loud calls to “Dump the dump!” on the morning of Sunday, August 11 as dozens of Bensonhurstians rallied against the proposed waste transfer station.

Spearheaded by Assemblymember Bill Colton and community activists Mark Treyger and Priscilla Consolo, elected officials and those who hope to be in office come November called upon the city to reconsider its decision to build a waste transfer station at the site of the old incinerator on Shore Parkway near Bay 44th Street.

Treyger asserted that when the city dredges the water in Gravesend Bay to make room for barges to transport trash to and from the station, it will bring up over 100 dangerous carcinogens and chemicals, including mercury, lead and arsenic.

“There is a great possibility of this coming ashore. This is a flood zone,” he explained. “This is a very dangerous plan.”

Colton contended that the city pulled a fast one on the residents of Southwest Brooklyn. He explained that public hearings regarding the waste transfer station ended in May, 2012 and shortly after that, a permit was issued to go on with the plans. But the Department of Environmental Conservation did not release reports of what was found in the water until October, 2012, nearly six months later.

They tested the bottom of the water and found all the things we were fearful would be there and it was done six months after the permit was issued,” Colton said.

Dorothy Mortman has lived in the Waterview Towers on Cropsey Avenue for decades. She is a two-time cancer survivor and blames her illness on the now-shuttered incinerator that she lived with for so long.

“I was genetically tested and have no predisposition. I blame the carcinogens,” she said. “Children will breathe in these carcinogens. We seem to have no rights. We demand that they rethink what they are doing to this neighborhood.”

Ida Sanoff, chair of the Natural Resource Protection Association, talked about a swan that recently washed up on the shore dead from lead poisoning.

“If swans can get lead poisoning from the water, think about what it can do to people and children,” she said. “The only way this will get defeated is if everyone sticks together and no one gives up.”

Colton also called on all of the mayoral candidates to speak up on behalf of Southwest Brooklynites. Three were in attendance: Democrats Erick Salgado and Sal Albanese and Green Party candidate Anthony Gronowitz.

“I am deeply concerned because I am a victim myself,” Salgado said, explaining that he was born in the Bronx, and developed asthma at an early age due to the high number of trash facilities near his home, forcing him and his family to move back to Puerto Rico.

“Many of our children have to move away, but want to be here in New York City,” he said. “Regardless of what the city says, we have to fight for our people. Together, we will come out victorious.”

Albanese, who is a vocal opponent of the proposed East 91st Street transfer station on the Upper East Side as well, said that the city needs to change the way it disposes of garbage as a whole.

“These waste transfer stations are one and the same. It is outrageous that the city is going ahead with this plan,” he contended. “We have to recycle our garbage so we don’t have to build these colossal, disastrous stations. I will be with you every step of the way until we stop this.”

Also present at the rally were Democratic District Leader and City Council candidate Ari Kagan, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff for State Senator Marty Golden and a City Council candidate.

Kagan and Gentile denounced the transfer station, but Quaglione took the opportunity to take a swing at his opponent, Gentile, alleging that he voted for the station back in 2006.

“This is totally ludicrous. If you are waiting for Christine Quinn to get here, you’re going to wait a long time,” Quaglione said. “Every Brooklyn City Council member voted for this proposal, except for Domenic Recchia. Remember that when you vote in November.”

In fact, Recchia was one of five councilmembers citywide who voted against the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, drafted in July, 2006, which aimed to share the responsibility of garbage disposal across all five boroughs, instead of focusing on Staten Island.

“In light of the new information uncovered by Assemblymember Colton, I have been compelled to reexamine this plan,” Gentile said. “I would not support any plan that would put our health, quality of life or environment at risk. We in Southern Brooklyn are a mighty, mighty force and with our force, we say, ‘Dump the dump!’”

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