Free Press video series
From the Ecology Center:
The City of Detroit currently faces a historic deadline of July 1, 2008 to close the largest trash incinerator in the world. The incinerator burns nearly 800,000 tons of trash per year currently at a cost of over $170 per ton to Detroit residents (5-7 times the cost of suburbs that recycle and landfill). Hazardous air pollutants from the facility include mercury, lead and dioxins. Asthma hospitalization rates in Detroit are 3-4 times the average rate of the state of Michigan. In addition to these staggering figures, Detroit is the only city of the 30 largest cities in the United States without any form of curbside recycling.
In 2005, the Detroit Incinerator was the 5th largest stationary source of Nitrogen Oxides, which is a critical component of smog (ground-level ozone). Wayne County is currently in violation of USEPA health standards for smog and soot (particulate matter). Hazardous air pollutants from the facility include mercury, lead and dioxins. Asthma hospitalization rates
in Detroit are 3-4 times the average rate of the state of Michigan. Both smog and soot contribute to and aggravate asthma.
Trash is an inefficient fuel for generating steam and electricity, creating more global warming carbon dioxide per unit of energy than any other fuel. Recycling will create far less pollution, save more energy than the facility produces, and bring the potential for many more jobs in recycling based manufacturing. The current system binds the City
financially and legally to incinerate waste with prohibitive barriers to recycling.
A broad coalition of community organizations- environmental, civil rights, health, labor, faith-based and social service advocates- have proposed a New Business Model for Solid Waste Management in Detroit, which has been endorsed and supported by the Detroit City Council by a 6-2 majority. This plan would implement a curbside recycling pilot program by January 1, 2009 and close the incinerator at the end of its current contracts on June 30, 2009. Closing the facility must include a funded plan to assist every displaced worker in finding a similar job at similar compensation.
The administration of Mayor Kilpatrick has agreed to a smaller pilot curbside recycling program, but appears opposed to ending incineration, which means there will not be significant recycling. The operations of the facility are overseen by the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority (GDRRA). Board members are appointees of the Mayor of Detroit.
Stop Trashing the Climate Incineration Report