FreshDirect Begins Controversial Construction With Protests In The Bronx

December 23, 2014 | Rhett Jones

FreshDirect began construction on its distribution center in the South Bronx on Monday and protestors were present to voice their disapproval of the development project.

The planned facility has raised the ire of locals primarily due to its likelihood of increasing pollution in a region that already has extremely poor air quality. For just one example, asthma cases are 21 times higher in the neighborhood than in high income areas. According to Mychal Johnson, a co-founder of South Bronx Unite, the new facility “would bring an estimated 1,000 daily truck trips through a neighborhood that already sees some of the worst traffic in the city, also thanks to a FedEx hub, a printing and distribution center, and four waste transfer stations.”

Demonstrators have long maintained that the adverse effects of the warehouse would outweigh any economic growth, which would mostly consist of non-unionized, minimum wage jobs.

According to DNAinfo Rev. Rubén Austria, founder of the South Bronx nonprofit Community Connections for Youth had this to say at the scene:

We’re here to bear witness to the sacredness of our children’s lungs. We’re here to bear witness to the sacredness of the air we breathe. We’re here to say that our health is sacred.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. tried to put a happy spin on things reminding protestors that eating well was a key factor for healthy lungs:

“When we speak of respiratory ailments, when we speak of health disparities, we know that a lot of that has to do with the types of foods that we eat,” he said. “And so from a health standpoint, FreshDirect is going to help solve that.”

(Photo: South Bronx Unite)