With a background in sociology and urban planning, Ana Traverso-Krejcarek is a strong asset for El Puente’s The Green Light District where she serves as the Environmental Policy Coordinator & Green Jobs Green New York Program Associate. Hailing all the way from Brazil, Ana’s lifework has always been focused on the environment and community advocacy, but before we get into that, let’s learn more about how she found her way to Brooklyn and involved with El Puente.
When we sat down to interview Ana, it is clear that Ana’s drive and knowledge guides her passion and continues to motivate us. She calls attention and inspection to air quality and size of parks in the Southside of Williamsburg. Being that the Brooklyn Queens Expressway runs along this community, air pollution is a massive issue. Ana’s studies have tracked the quality of air by measuring particulate matter, humidity, and decibels in connection to the amount of commercial trucks passing by. Even from the pilot readings the mornings-afternoons are the worst. There’s more flux of trucks and pollution by midday, where the particulate matter reaches peaks of 90 when it should only be 2.5. While if you were to go out around 4-5pm, the particulate matter has dropped significantly. Regardless of the drop, these numbers are unacceptable. Unfortunately, not only is the air quality an issue, the size of parks in the area is abysmal.
Ana told us about the grim reality of lack of park space and tree coverage in South Williamsburg. While Greenpoint has had its fair share of eco issues, Ana explained that South Williamsburg has 0.3 acres of park to its name, while Greenpoint and North Williamsburg has 4.7 acres. The national standard happens to be 6.5 acres. Though Greenpoint and Williamsburg still don’t have the national average, it’s clear that South Williamsburg desperately needs more parks and trees. With more trees, South Williamsburg will be able to better filter the smog and air pollution caused by the traffic from the BQE.
Ana went on to speak to the fact that regardless of what happens with the BQE, we need to plant more trees to help regulate the air quality. She also mentioned that the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance and other groups can band together to generate awareness to bring more attention to the south side. But as Ana made clear, “In order to advocate for anything, you need real data so that people will pay attention to you.”
Open space availability is crucial to public health and quality of life, as it informs a healthy lifestyle including exercise, food, and relaxation. A promising possibility, Ana spoke of the green spaces like Marcy Park and Rodney Park being able to be combined into one larger park to create a much better space for South Williamsburg.
The Green Light District is always looking for more participants, as the more knowledge disseminated, the better the chances of change. They can be reached by email or phone, where they are happy to always have new members. Ana Traverso-Krejcarek plays a major role in the improvement of this community, and is an inspiration for both the future generations as well as those who work alongside her for improved air quality, open space, and health. Feel free to visit http://elpuente.us/ for more information or contact Ana at firstname.lastname@example.org.