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Baltimore deserves better than the BRESCO incinerator

BRESCO incinerator
BRESCO incinerator (Gene Sweeney Jr. / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore deserves better than dirty BRESCO stacks as the iconic "Welcome!" to the southern entrance to the city ("Maryland moving to cut emissions from BRESCO trash incinerator," July 5). BRESCO, a trash-incinerator, received 161,000 tons of trash last year. This trash is burned and converted to energy, a process that releases various harmful toxins into the air. Last year, 1,100 tons of nitrous oxides were released from BRESCO. Even more alarming, these nitrous oxides react with organic compounds to create extremely high levels of ozone resulting in "Code Orange" days. This horrible air quality alert signifies a serious tragedy for public health that must be dealt with in Baltimore City.

Maryland environmental regulators are developing new rules for the BRESCO trash incinerator on Russell Street, which creates twice as much ozone pollution as a similar facility in Montgomery County.

Waste-to-energy is sometimes advertised as a renewable form of energy. This is not true, and it is an extremely harmful process. The released toxins harm the natural environment and human health. BRESCO is old, out-dated and now poses a serious public health risk to Baltimore City.It is great to hear that Maryland wants to reduce the emissions coming from BRESCO. This is a positive step in a healthier direction. That being said, burning trash is not a sustainable nor clean form of energy. BRESCO cannot be a long term solution to the energy dilemma nor the trash issue.

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The real solution will come when society as a whole produces substantially less waste and invests in true renewables such as solar and wind. A societal shift toward reduced consumption, more recycling, and more reuse is essential to create a successful future. It would be a lot more promising to drive into Baltimore City and see a clean, wind turbine welcoming visitors to a city truly making strides towards a renewable, clean, and healthy future.

Allie Bull, Baltimore

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