A Journey From Incineration Toward Zero Waste

As you enter Chester, Pennsylvania, and drive by 10 Highland Ave, chances are you just took a breath of mercury, soot, and lead.  You might have also seen a big smokestack as you drove by, and if you did, you would have seen the country’s largest trash incinerator run by a company called Covanta.  This incinerator sits in a mostly Black neighborhood in which one-third of the residents live under the poverty line.  The location of this incinerator, however, is far from a coincidence.

Forty-five percent of all incinerators in the country are in neighborhoods where people of color are a majority or a higher percentage than the national average. This is a striking example of environmental injustice.

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Victory: Community Forces Setback For Incinerator Polluter

By Fern Shen for the Baltimore Brew. Residents of the Curtis Bay, Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Park neighborhoods closest to the incinerator site – including a student-led organization called Free Your Voice – have been fighting the proposed 4,000-ton-per-day trash burning incinerator because of the air pollution they say it would add to a neighborhood already suffering from toxic air emissions.

“Today marks a crucial point in the communities of Brooklyn, Curtis Bay and Brooklyn Park,” said Destiny Watford, who grew up in the area and has been leading the campaign against the incinerator.

Watford said residents have been not only opposing the project but looking for alternative uses for the land that would generate jobs for the community.

“Community members have been working to bring truly green community-driven positive alternatives like solar, recycling, and composting that provide good jobs for residents, and don’t put our lives at risk,” she said. “The incinerator was holding us back from that positive vision.“

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