BUSHWICK – Cleanup North Brooklyn, a grassroots community group, announced today that they would be filing a lawsuit against a nearby waste transfer facility as part of their ongoing effort to improve living conditions in the neighborhood.
The group has been working for years to improve conditions near the waste transfer facility at 105-115 Thames Street in Bushwick. A report from the group alleged more than 1,200 violations of city regulations over a six day period in 2016.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, with pro bono co-counsel Schindler Cohen & Hochman LLP, are filing the suit on behalf of Cleanup North Brooklyn.
The lawsuit alleges that GBP Waste NY LLC, and the previous owners of the station, Brooklyn Transfer LLC, have created a nuisance for residents through persistent odor, noise, air pollution and dangerous traffic conditions.
The lawsuit seeks a court order compelling the defendants to cease the creation of nuisance conditions in the neighborhood.
A number of residents named as plaintiffs in the case spoke at the conference, citing an inability to use public spaces or open their windows due to the smell from the station. Some blamed the pollution for asthma in their children and alleged property damage from the large trucks that use the station.
Jen Chantrtanapichate, president of Cleanup North Brooklyn, took the waste disposal company to task, citing numerous public forums and a meeting with the company in which promises about improving conditions were made, but not upheld.
“Our community has been suffering for too long due to the poor practices of this privately owned waste transfer station,” Chantrtanapichate said in a statement, citing the lawsuit as a “glimmer of hope” in the community’s fight for better living conditions.
Waste disposal has been a contentious issue in New York City for many years, with social justice implications, as well. Transfer stations appear in disproportionate numbers in North Brooklyn and the South Bronx, often impacting immigrant communities and communities of color.
In the past, legislation has been introduced to the city council fighting for “waste equity,” though it has faced opposition from the waste recycling industry. The lawsuit announced today would only be a small step in addressing the greater issue, but to those living in Bushwick, any positive change would be a breath of fresh air.