Belching Detroit Incinerator Scorches Southeast Michigan with 3,000 Tons of Trash Daily
CEED team brings research and strategy on waste, energy and climate issues to Detroit activists.
By: Drink Breathe Live
Environmental activists from Breathe Free Detroit and the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC) were eager to learn CEED's perspective into the mainstream U.S. environmentalist research and political agendas.
Kathryn Savoie from Breathe Free Detroit and Will Copeland, Executive Director of East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC), invited Dr. Martinez to provide technical assistance based on CEED's research principles supporting the environmental justice movement in Detroit.
With the use of interactive examples, Dr. Martinez literally walked her audience across maps of global mountains of waste produced in the top industrial countries of the world.
Stacking rolls of bathroom tissue (one roll equaled one ton waste per capita) on the flags of those industrial countries, workshop participants estimated the amounts of waste produced by citizens in their assigned nation.
To the surprise of no one at the workshop, the United States produces the most amount of waste per capita: a total of 19 tons per citizen, per year.
For the members of Breathe Free Detroit and EMEAC, this amount of waste begs the question: What does our community do with all this waste?
Bury or Burn
Regionally, Southeast Michigan uses both methods to deal with the tons of waste produced annually. Executive Director, Will Copeland of EMEAC builds community power through environmental justice and education.
Landfills dot hundreds of brownfields and Superfund sites from legacy corporate polluters with significant mercury, lead and cadmium in topsoils. And they leach into our aquifers, rivers and lakes polluting sources for our drinking water.
Detroit's incinerator, North America's largest solid waste facility, erupts outward of 3,300 tons of waste each day polluting a radius of 5 to 12 miles depending on wind speed. It is no wonder that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services places Detroit as the epicenter of the asthma epidemic.
Living within five miles of the incinerator are more than 77,000 children (60% are black and living with families below the poverty line).
Landfills and incinerators destroy our land, our water and our air; the very elements necessary for human survival.
Yet, the alternatives are simple and available to every level of governance: neighborhoods, cities, state and national: recycling, composting, reusable biogas energy, eliminate non-recyclable products, packaging-built-
The Center for Earth and Energy Democracy
CEED.org works to develop and ensure energy policy solutions to climate change are equitable and sustainable. "We work in partnership with grassroots communities, policymakers and researchers, "explained Dr. Martinez. "Combining technical research with a priority for understanding policy impacts on justice communities."
As public dialogue about climate change becomes more and more "expert-driven,"
The environmental justice movement has a long and proud history of working to create healthy environmental and economic opportunities for all our communities.
Dr. Martinez believes it is time that political leaders pursue a strong and comprehensive environmental program – a program that simultaneously addresses climate change, protects community health, and eliminates racial inequality.