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Saturday action aims to end Detroit’s wasteful incineration in favor of clean energy, jobs

Teamsters, environmental justice groups demand smarter, cleaner options
Jun 25, 2010
Environmental advocates, Teamsters, and neighborhood residents will march together on Saturday, June 26 to demand the closure of the country’s largest waste incinerator. By engaging in street theater and colorful, positive actions, representatives of Detroit’s pollution-impacted communities will bring attention to the need for a just transition from burning waste, coal and diesel to building a better, cleaner future for Detroiters. That transition is necessary in the face of issues such as the high cost of incineration, health effects of pollution in neighborhoods, and climate change.

“Frontline communities in Detroit are taking a stand against the violence of pollution and poverty that burning waste, coal, and oil bring to their families,” said Sandra Turner-Handy of the Michigan Environmental Council. “Recycling should be option one to replace incineration, followed by cleaner and less expensive disposal options.”

The action will start at 9 a.m. in front of the Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward. Demonstrations, green planting activities, and theater will occur at stops along the way. The action will culminate at the incinerator before noon.

According to the Detroit Asthma Coalition, Detroit’s children suffer asthma rates three times the national average. The municipal incinerator is a major contributor to these devastating health impacts, as are diesel trucks and coal burning power plants. The City Council recently voted to establish the city’s first curbside recycling program, a positive step toward ending incineration.

“We are demanding that Mayor Bing and the City Council protect our health and economy with alternatives that provide more jobs and a better quality of life,” said Ahmina Maxey, of East Michigan Environmental Action Council.

“The facts are clear,” said Michael Martin of the Michigan Teamsters. “Recycling creates six to ten times more jobs than incinerating or land-filling. By recycling waste we can recover valuable materials and limit hazardous pollution. We support a comprehensive recycling program in Detroit, and we look forward to working with Mayor Bing, the City Council, the Zero Waste Detroit coalition, and our elected representatives in achieving this goal.”

“Communities from across the nation are standing alongside Detroiters against economic and ecological injustice, and in favor of healthy and just solutions,” said Monica Wilson of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. “We stand with the frontline communities of Detroit who are reclaiming a positive future for our children.”

Saturday’s march will be supported by hundreds of participants in the United States Social Forum, which concludes Saturday.
Ahmina Maxey, East MI Env. Action Council: 313-332-5389

Margaret Weber, Zero Waste Detroit: 313-938-1133

Sandra Turner-Handy, MI Env. Council: 313-926-9811

Monica Wilson, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives: 510-682-7663
RELATED TOPICS: environmental justice
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