Engage: Waste Incineration in our Community

Several of the proposals for incineration facilities disclosed in “Incinerators in Disguise,” were challenged by the residents and environmental justice groups of the community, as they formed coalitions against the waste-treatment companies’ claims of “zero emissions,” until they were rejected. The New York City Department of Sanitation’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan for 2006-2025 seeks to reduce NYC’s reliance on “out-of-City landfill disposal options” and explores the possibility of new and emerging technologies being sited in New York City. Although case studies have proven that waste-treatment facilities falsely claim that their technology is “pollution-free,” and has “no emissions,” do you think an incineration facility, promoting technologies such as pyrolysis, gasification, plasma arc, and catalytic cracking, is capable of operating pollution-free? And if an incinerator such as the one mentioned by the DSNY were sited in New York City, how do you think residents of NYC would respond? How would you respond to an emerging incinerator in your community?

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3 Responses to Engage: Waste Incineration in our Community

  1. Kelly Wu says:

    Judging by “Incinerators in Disguise” and the Department of Sanitation’s “Request for Proposals for New and Emerging Solid Waste Management Technology,” it is clear that many communities around the world are in dire need of safe and newly improved waste treatment technologies. However, it seems like the government of these communities are acting rather hastily in their implementation of these facilities and overlooking the real needs of its members. The possibility of new incinerators that have “no emissions” and “no hazardous wastes” all seem to be beneficial investment options, but further investigation behind these claims are imperative for the long term well-being of those that live at close proximity around these facilities.

    I believe incineration facilities are capable of operating pollution- free. However, if the government does not impose necessary, thorough, and periodic inspections and regulations, these incineration facilities would not put much effort in making their facilities exactly as “pollution-free” as they claim to be. Companies that sanction the environment are knowingly emitting hazardous gases, even while claiming their facilities to be safe and harmless. In addition to the improvement of the actual technology behind these new incinerators, it seems like the government and the companies involved are also in need of enhanced communication and integrity.

    Residents of New York City might very well respond to an emerging incinerator near their vicinity with skepticism and objection. The many failed projects as outlined in “Incinerators in Disguise” reveal the many uncertainties that can bring about catastrophic consequences to the New York community. To know that government negligence played a part in many failed incineration projects in other places does not increase the confidence of any of our residents, and it is understandable why residents might vehemently object to an incinerator in their neighborhood. I myself will very much feel the same way. However, new waste treatment facilities are essential to the future of New York City. A proposal that has thoroughly investigated emission levels, residential support, environmental impact, and implemented with active government and community involvement might just rebuild the confidence of New Yorkers enough to take on this new project in the future.

  2. Raymond Wang says:

    These incineration facilities may be said to be pollution free. However, I do not believe that is true. Pretty much every type of disposal option includes some type of exhaust. It would be quite difficult to create a way to actually have a completely clean method of managing the waste. However, I do believe we have the necessary advancements in technology to produce such an incinerator that produces much less pollution than what may be the current case.

    If an incinerator was being built in my community, I am sure that I would have objections to it. I live in a very small and peaceful neighborhood right next to the woods. My guess is that they would need to build this incinerator in the woods which would definitely be detrimental to the environment. Also, many residents may not understand why there is an incinerator being built and the adverse effects it can cause. The reading also discussed many failed projects which shows how difficult it is for something liket his to be accepted. Since I am a somewhat educated individual on the subject, I believe that such an incinerator is necessary. Even though I believe we need it, I do not think I have the capabilities to solve the issues revolved around having one in certain communities. I can also be sure that one other residents are educated on the issue and the importance of such incinerators, they would come to accept it.

  3. Steven Sklyarevskiy says:

    New York City is, relative to other U.S. cities, pretty densely populated and highly commercial. If a method was discovered that truly had “zero emissions” there would hardly be a problem implementing it anywhere but with the amount of emissions already polluting New York air its unlikely that locals will take it lying down. In class we discussed the vehement opposition to garbage transport hubs being built and they only pollute the air via smell and truck fumes. Looking at the situation from an objective standpoint, its clear that these facilites need to be built somewhere but I can imagine anyone inviting them into their neighborhood with open arms.

    Although the idea of dropping these problems on another area seems inefficient and even cruel, a smaller town in New York State could house the processing plants instead of the city. This isn’t a statement of superior value of city-dwellers but rather an objective view of the number of people affected by emissions and the value of New York City as an economic hub that can financially support the rest of the state. The choice here is a lesser of two evils, we must employ waste disposal technologies with the least comparative pollution in areas outside of New York City until a true “zero emission” technology can be tested and proven.

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