Green Shoutout - FRESH KILLS PARK PROJECT IN NEW YORK
The world is becoming increasingly aware of the growing pressures of waste management that we are facing. Currently, an estimated 2.01 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste are created annually. This global problem is leading to a wide array of environmental issues such as pollutants released into the air, ground and water systems- in turn creating a burden on public health and safety. As our global population continues to grow exponentially, it is imperative that we make a national effort to address the accumulating issue of waste management as our waste production inevitably rises.
One of the most densely populated cities in all of North America has put forth a massive effort to repurpose and absolve New York State off the existing waste management issues. The Fresh Kills Landfill was a landfill that extended across 2,200 acres of Staten Island, filled with the municipal solid waste generated by the people of New York City from 1948 to 2001 (150 million tons of trash), before it was officially closed.
Photo Credit - Chester Higgins, Jr. - U.S. National Archives and Records
New York State officials knew something had to be done about the remaining garbage mounds. By partnering with James Corner and the Field Operations firm, Fresh Kills Landfill is in the process of being drastically remodelled into a natural coastal buffer and parkland three times the size of Central Park.
“How is that possible?” You may ask. Extensive planning and architectural ingenuity has propelled this green project forward. The first step the team had to accomplish was capping off the garbage mounds with plastic and covering the entire area with soil. Concrete troughs were put in place to enable rain water to be funnelled away from the hills. The team even thought to introduce goats during the restoration process as a means to naturally control the invasive plant population.
Credit...Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
By actively incorporating sustainable energy infrastructure into the park, the natural gas from decomposing waste will be used to warm almost 22,000 homes. Aside from the abundant amount of ecological benefits, this park will also serve as means for creating social and educational opportunities for the surrounding communities with regards to recreation, art and culture as well as health and safety.
Fresh Kills Park serves as a concrete symbol of renewal and declaration of how contemporary society can utilize organic processes to revitalize the natural purposes of our land. A mass of land that was once associated with being 20 story high piles of garbage is being transformed into a place of natural beauty and community. This enormous effort shows that restoration on such a large scale is possible and we should continue to push for a cleaner, and greener tomorrow.
To learn more about the 3 10-year phases planned for Fresh Kills Park Check Out This Link --> Fresh Kills Park Master Plan