Concern About PCB Storage

June 2001

Mitchel Cohen expressed a concern about where the PCBs to be dredged out of the Hudson River by General Electric (hopefully soon) will be stored. Someone had criticized Mitchel by saying essentially that we should dredge the river and worry about storage later.

Nancy Oden defends Mitchel's position:

But Mitchel's concern over where the filth will be dumped is totally legitimate. People in rural areas such as where I live are subjected to dumping of toxic wastes from industry and cities – chemical tank trucks drive up here from New Jersey and New York City and open their valves while driving up here near lakes and along back roads. I've caught them doing it (but haven't challenged them personally – I value my life). The whole point, of course, is to stop producing such toxic chemicals in the first place.

There is no such thing as a "secure" dump. All dumps leak, I know from several fights against toxic chemical and nuclear dumps. The materials are toxic – where they are dumped is of paramount importance.

Everything put on the ground, even on top of so-called "impervious" liners (which we found out are not) gets into the water underground and into the ocean eventually – sooner or later. often sooner.

Please do not make light of the absolutely legimate concern of where the sludge goes – we out here in rural America care because we often suffer from the dumping of industry's poisons.

Nancy Oden

In a message dated 7/10/01 1:28:53 AM, cleanearth@acadia.net writes:

Hi Rhio,

I've been active in stopping dumps (industry's word is "landfill," but we should call them toxic dumps, which is what they all are), including those for the toxic incinerator ash and other hazardous substances.

The only solution is to compost putrescibles (industry's word for stuff that rots — food, wastes from humans and animals, etc.), re-use every single re-useable thing until it breaks or is totally unreuseable, then recycle what's left from re-use, and that's almost all garbage right there.

Hazardous chemical wastes simply cannot be allowed to be created. This means that we cut down to absolute, absolute necessities that use toxic chemicals, and ensure that any potentially toxic emissions are neutralized to mere air and water or other innocuous substance before being released. This would mean stopping production of many junk toys (of all kinds) in today's world. It would mean actual thought would have to go into materials used to create any product – with citizens veto allowed. And so on.

No technology will keep poisons, once released, from our drinking water, breathing air, or, eventually where everything ends up, in the ocean, only to be recycled into our rain and drinking water once again. Poison in, poison out. There's no escape from this ineluctability. Compost, re-use, recycle, forbid use of materials that create toxic wastes. There – no more garbage problems.

Nancy Oden


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