Environmental issues in New York City -
Environmental issues in New York City are affected by the city's size, density, abundant public transportation infrastructure, and location at the mouth of the Hudson River. New York City also plays an important role in national environmental policy because of its size and influence. New York's population density has environmental benefits and dangers. It facilitates the highest mass transit use in the United States, but also concentrates pollution. Gasoline consumption in the city is at the rate the national average was in the 1920s, and greenhouse gas emissions are a fraction of the national average, at 7.1 metric tons per person per year, below San Francisco, at 11.2 metric tons, and the national average, at 24.5 metric tons. New York City accounts for only 1% of United States greenhouse gas emissions while housing 2.7% of its population. Air pollution, while not as severe as in cities like Los Angeles or Beijing, remains a major problem. The city's air has high levels of ozone and particulates, and residents in some neighborhoods have very high rates of asthma. Pollution varies greatly from borough to borough, and residents of Manhattan face the highest risk in the country of developing cancer from chemicals in the air. Air pollution is an ongoing political issue in neighborhoods that contain bus depots. The 2009 annual report of the American Lung Association ranks the New York City region as 22nd of the 25 regions in the United States most affected by year-round particle pollution, and 17th of the 25 most ozone-polluted cities. The city has made efforts to reduce particle pollution with measures like fitting catalytic converters to the exhausts of diesel city buses. New York also has the largest hybrid bus fleet in the country, and some of the first hybrid taxis. A large percentage of the city-owned vehicle fleet, including the personal cars of top city officials, are required since 2005 to be fuel efficient hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius or Honda Accord gas-electric sedan that produce minimal particulates and carbon dioxide emissions. In 2005 the city's vehicle fleet had 6,000 alternative fuel and 70 electric vehicles. A biodiesel processing plant will soon open in Brooklyn that will process 2.5 million US gallons (9,500 m³) of biodiesel a year and distribute it to conventional gas stations in the city. The Department of Sanitation, which has 1,500 trucks of its 2,200-vehicle fleet on the streets each day, is working with truck manufacturers to introduce gas-electric hybrid garbage trucks. The Department switched to using low-sulfur fuel in 2001 and uses corn-based ethanol in 500 of its 1,500 light-duty trucks.
Mucn 2001 Mayor Rudolph Giuliani closed the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. The City did not have a subsequent plan for garbage disposal. An interim system was put in place in which most of the city's garbage was trucked out of the city to land fills in other states. This generated an unacceptable amount of truck traffic in low-income neighborhoods, leading to exacerbated air pollution. In 2006 Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation establishing a new solid waste management plan, which will use barges and trains to export 90% of the city’s 12,000 daily tons of residential trash. Under the previous scheme trucks and tractor-trailers were used for 84% of the trash. Passage of the new legislation was delayed by opponents in a Manhattan neighborhood who protested the use of a marine transfer station in the Hudson River Park. Environmentalists and social activists argued the plan promoted environmental justice because no one borough or neighborhood would bear a disproportionate burden under the proposal, and they therefore supported it.h of the city's housing stock is old, and lead paint is an ongoing public health issue. Some parts of the city are also at risk if current...
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