Time to close incinerator

Wheelabrator Incinerator will be terminated when Baltimore citizens come together, take their health into their own hands and stop falling for the corporation's repeated denials of the truth (“City Council proposes clean air rules forcing Baltimore trash incinerator to cut pollution, or shut down,” Nov. 20). Wheelabrator official Jim Connolly’s statement was a nauseatingly blatant attempt to mislead. Here are some corrections:

Wheelabrator has “been actively engaged with the [Maryland Department of the Environment]” mainly to resist increases in pollution control, partly by arguing that reasonably available control technologies are too expensive. Wheelabrator does not handle “post-recycled waste.” This statement was an attempt to imply that Wheelabrator is a stage in the recycling process, which it is not. In fact, the first step toward increasing reuse and recycling is eliminating incineration, society’s biggest excuse for not doing it.

How can the incinerator be “clean” and the largest polluter (by far) of city air? Incineration actually makes pollution worse. It doesn’t reduce total volume — it creates a denser solid portion (ash) combined with tremendous amounts of gas, both far more toxic than the original garbage. Incinerators manufacture one of the most toxic compounds (dioxin) and force us to inhale some of our waste every day. Any management that results in Baltimore persistently having among the highest asthma and smog rates in the country is not “responsible.”

The incineration industry has been incorrectly described as renewable from the start. In urban areas of gross over-consumption, trash may seem endless, but that is not the same thing as renewable. Renewable processes fuel others and form sustainable loops. Incineration ruins resources that might otherwise be reused or recycled by putting them on a dead end to toxic waste.

Kevin Kriescher, Baltimore

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