Garbage Trucks in NYC Might Go Green!

by Elisabeth Powell

Widener University Environmental Politics Student

New York City is one of the most crowded cities in America. With a high density of people there is a lot of trash and with a lot of trash there are a lot of garbage trucks. People of New York are beginning to get concerned about asthma and other health effects of these aging trucks. This increased concern made it to former Mayor Bloomberg who began to take steps to modernize the city’s fleet of diesel powered vehicles.  He signed a law to control the emissions of these garbage haulers. At least 90 percent of the vehicles must meet the emission standards by 2017. But there are also private haulers that dispose of the city’s commercial garbage and recyclables, so there is legislation trying to expand the law to control the emissions of these large trucks. If the trucks are “retrofitted” with new engines or old trucks are retired and new ones are used, particulate matter emissions would reduce by 796 tons, nitrogen oxides would reduce by 12,054 tons. The cost of the proposal is between 484- 571.4 million dollars but if the trucks are simply retrofitted with new engines, it would be greatly less. It is a good idea but the cost of garbage disposal is going to cost more for the companies, and these companies are already in economic distress from hurricane Sandy. Pollution and greenhouse gases can be decreased but it will cost the people willing to change.


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