Yesterday, Brooklyn City Council Sanitation Committee Chair Antonio Reynoso (D-34), along with Brooklyn council colleagues Levin, Lander and Menchaca, joined with teamsters and community groups to both call out New York’s Business Integrity Commission and call for legislation to regulate the private carting industry.
After the deaths of two men in the Bronx, Mouctar Diallo and Leo Clark, at the hands of the same driver for the same company, Sanitation Salvage, ProPublica published the results of an investigation, which followed on the heels of a January article revealing the dangerous demands of garbage collection in New York City. Now, Brooklyn politicians have decided to act.
To the Councilmembers, the New York Business Integrity Commission has failed residents by refusing to act on the private carting industry. Below, Councilmember Stephen Levin calls for action from the city commission:
BIC, do your job. This industry has run rampant through our neighborhoods showing no regard for human life.
— Stephen Levin (@StephenLevin33) May 9, 2018
While some have called for the suspension of Sanitation Salvage’s license, but speaking yesterday at a press conference, Councilmember Reynoso went well beyond punishing just one company in an industry plagued by tragedy.
“This industry is toxic and we need comprehensive reform,” said Reynoso. The councilmember said he is working with the New York Department of Sanitation to create Commercial Waste Zones, which would force carting companies to bid on territory—and give the city a chance to impose safe operational standards.
Truck traffic has been a major concern in North Brooklyn, where both Councilmembers Reynoso and Levin represent.
“My community processes 40 percent of the City’s trash—we suffer every day with the pollution and the dangerous trucks that tear through our neighborhood,” said Reynoso.
Last year’s Intro 495, designed to cap the amount of trash processed through impacted, low-income neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx, wasn’t passed by the end of the legislative session, but community groups have been fighting back against sanitation companies at many levels.
Last year, a Bushwick community group filed suit against a nearby waste transfer station that they blame for the asthma and the truck traffic endangering their children and their quality of life.
Last year’s hit-and-run death of bicyclist Neftaly Ramirez due to Greenpoint garbage truck has galvanized the community to fight back against truck traffic and dangerous drivers for sanitation services, but despite a record number of summonses issued by North Brooklyn police, residents remain worried.
Councilmember Reynoso has said that despite efforts to encourage the private carting industry to clean up their acts of their own accord, no meaningful change has come.
“Today, we put the industry and BIC on notice – your days of endangering the people of New York City are over,” said Reynoso. “I will be working diligently with my colleagues to pass legislation that will finally bring this industry to heel and I thank you all for supporting us in this work.”