Ever since a January windstorm apparently left two abandoned barges adrift on Flushing Bay, environmental advocates and Flushing residents have been asking why nothing has been done to clean up the mess.
Riverkeeper, a nonprofit New York City clean water advocate, has been on top of the incident since the barges first made their presence in Flushing Bay. Their concerns are twofold — not only is it unappealing for residents but it also is harming the environment. Styrofoam has begun to fall off the barges and spreading around the bay. Private property owners alongside the shore have seen debris land.
In January, Riverkeeper contacted the NYPD, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and city Department of Environmental Conservation, informing all of them of the issues. But while there have been responses, nothing has been done.
The condition of the barges has continued to decline over the last couple of months. Steel plating is breaking off and one of the barges broke in half.
Normally, when vessels break in half, both parts sink. But according to James Lipscomb, captain of the Hudson Riverkeeper, these barges have an unusual design called positive flotation. This, he said, makes the barges unsinkable.
Lipscomb and area residents cannot confirm but believe the barges were secured on the east side of Flushing Bay, attached to commercial property, and broke loose during the January storm and drifted to their current location.