This morning city and state officials initiated a six-day pilot plan to burn roughly 100,000 cubic yards of tree limbs and other organic detritus left mangled by Sandy at Floyd Bennett Field. DNAinfo reports that a private company through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is using a mechanical incinerating device to initially burn several hundred cubic yards of what an Army spokesman calls "purely organic material." Though the EPA will be on hand to monitor air quality concerns, the city has granted the company involved in the burning exceptions to two portions of the Air Pollution Control Code to do it. "It's one step up from burning it in a big bonfire," Laura Haight, a senior environmental associate at the New York Public Interest Research Group says. "It's fairly primitive."
The device, called an air curtain burner, uses a diesel pump to blow a stream of hot air over the bin in which the matter is burned to lower smoke output and create a hotter fire. Here's a video of one in action (and another in case you can't get enough air curtain burning).
While ECC, the company in charge of the burn, says there are no pollution concerns, Haight notes, "It's just air. It's not considered a modern pollution control device." She adds that there is concern that the city may turn to the trash mountains at Jacob Riis Park and begin burning matter that isn't purely organic. "We have a lot of people that are badly hit by the hurricane," Haight told DNAinfo. "The concern for us is, why add insult to injury?"