Ten years ago, when he opened his auto shop, Malik Ashrak had no idea how important good practices in his business would be for the community and the environment.
“‘Uprose’ has been very good, very educational in terms of helping me understand the impact of chemicals, oils, thinners that I use on a daily basis. They have helped me understand how to store them in a better way that has less negative impact on the environment,” Ashrak said.
On Wednesday, Malik, who is from Pakistan, received recognition from ‘Uprose,’ the oldest Latino community organization in Brooklyn, which works hand in hand with owners of small workshops like this one.
“That was wonderful, I worked hard for it, attentive every time they called me to meetings, learning a lot with them and also doing my part to make everything better in the workshop and others in the area as well,” added Ashrak.
After the heavy flooding left by Storm Sandy in 2012, Uprose, in conjunction with the Environmental Justice Alliance, works to reduce the leakage of liquids that mix with the water during the rains. Five years ago, they started the initiative in Sunset Park.
“We have materials that they can put on the wall, posters like the one you can see there, that let them know exactly what to do if it’s too windy, if the water is rising, if it’s raining too much,” Elizabeth Yeampierre explained. CEO of Uprose.
One of the most important recommendations is the use of fireproof and floodproof cabinets to store dangerous liquids and thus prevent them from contaminating the water.
There are very simple practices that help protect the environment and that can be carried out both in automobile workshops and in other businesses.
“If you have equipment that has a battery, put it all in one place and cover it up. If there are chemicals, ensure that the caps cannot come off and that they are in places where they cannot fall. There are things that are very basic and simple, but when people are working and surviving they are not thinking about where they put all those things,” said Yeampierre.