Asbestos-Laden Subway Cars Dumped in Ocean

More than 600 New York subway cars will find a new life in the Atlantic Ocean, many near the Jersey shore, New York City Transit officials announced last week.

According to a report in Newsday, these 17-ton cars, all of which are lined with asbestos and some of which have been in use for more than 40 years, will be finding a new home as artificial reefs deep in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Garden State and several other states along the Eastern Seaboard.

“They create a cave-like structure that let young hatchlings mature,” said Mike Zacchea, a self-described reef dean for New York City Transit who is also an assistant chief of operations. “Within 30 days, marine life attaches to the car body.”

NYC Transit has been participating in this practice sine 2001, though “ in the beginning“ there was much debate with environmental groups in regards to the dumping of asbestos-containing vehicles into the ocean. So the state EPA took some time to study the impact the submerged cars would have on aquatic life. The department announced last week that the cars offer a durable habitat and pose negligible impacts on the environment, a spokeswoman said.

However, environmentalists still aren’t convinced. Transit officials, on the other hand, see the dumping of the cars as a great money-saving strategy. If transit otherwise scrapped them, the agency pointed out that removing asbestos from those cars would cost $27 million in additional funds.

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