The History of Environmental Activism in Bronx, NY

The Bronx, located in New York City, is known for its vibrant culture, diverse communities, and bustling city life. However, it is also home to a rich history of environmental activism. For decades, residents of the Bronx have been fighting to protect their neighborhoods from pollution and environmental degradation. In this article, we will explore the history of environmental activism in Bronx, NY and the impact of various environmental groups in Bronx NY.

The Early Years

The history of environmental activism in Bronx, NY can be traced back to the 1960s when the city was facing a rapid decline due to urbanization and industrialization.

The South Bronx, in particular, was hit hard by these changes. The once-thriving community was now plagued by poverty, crime, and pollution. The air was thick with smog from factories and incinerators, and the waterways were contaminated with industrial waste. Amidst this chaos, a group of concerned citizens came together to form the South Bronx Clean Air Coalition. Their goal was to address the air pollution caused by the numerous incinerators in the area.

They organized protests and lobbied the government to shut down these incinerators. Their efforts paid off when the city passed a law banning new incinerators from being built in the South Bronx. In the 1970s, another group called The Point Community Development Corporation was formed to address the issue of waste management in the South Bronx. They focused on educating residents about proper waste disposal and recycling. They also worked towards creating green spaces in the community, which were scarce at that time.

The Birth of Sustainable South Bronx

In the 1990s, a new organization called Sustainable South Bronx emerged.

It was founded by Majora Carter, a Bronx native, and environmental activist. The organization's mission was to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly community in the South Bronx. They focused on issues such as waste management, green jobs, and environmental justice. Sustainable South Bronx played a crucial role in the revitalization of the South Bronx. They worked towards creating green spaces, such as the Hunts Point Riverside Park, which was once an illegal dumping ground.

They also launched the Green Jobs Training Program, which provided job training and placement for residents in the green sector. One of their most significant achievements was the creation of the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) Academy. This program trained residents in environmental remediation and provided them with job opportunities in the field. It not only helped improve the environment but also provided economic opportunities for the community.

The Fight Against Waste Management Facilities

In the early 2000s, the Bronx faced a new threat – waste management facilities. The city planned to build a waste transfer station in Hunts Point, which would bring in over 5,000 tons of garbage daily.

This would have a severe impact on the air quality and health of residents in the area. Environmental groups in Bronx, NY, including Sustainable South Bronx and The Point CDC, joined forces to fight against this proposal. They organized protests, held community meetings, and even filed lawsuits against the city. Their efforts paid off when the city decided to scrap the plan for the waste transfer station. However, this was not the end of their fight against waste management facilities. In 2013, another proposal was made to build a waste transfer station in the South Bronx.

Once again, environmental groups in Bronx, NY, came together to oppose this plan. They argued that the South Bronx was already overburdened with waste facilities and could not handle any more. After years of protests and legal battles, the city finally agreed to cancel the project.

The Present and Future

Today, the Bronx continues to face environmental challenges, such as air pollution, waste management, and climate change. However, thanks to the efforts of various environmental groups, the community is better equipped to address these issues. Organizations like Sustainable South Bronx and The Point CDC continue to work towards creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly community.

They have also inspired other groups to join the fight for a cleaner and healthier Bronx. For instance, The Bronx River Alliance focuses on restoring and protecting the Bronx River, while The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance works towards achieving environmental justice for all communities in New York City. The future of environmental activism in Bronx, NY looks promising. With more organizations and individuals joining the cause, we can hope for a cleaner and greener Bronx for generations to come.