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E-M:/ Health Risks, Great Lakes Prompts Call for Incinerator Shutdown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE					More Information:
Donele Wilkens
Monday, January 28, 2002
313-821-1064/313-475-3369 (cell)
David Holtz
313-640-9943/313-300-4454 (cell)

Groups Demand Incinerator Shutdown
Cite Health Hazards As Public Hearings Start Wednesday

DETROIT, MI-Environmentalists called today for the shutdown of Detroit's
incinerator and warned that until the facility is closed airborne toxins
will continue to concentrate dangerous health risks among low-income
residents living on the city's near east side.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public hearing
Wednesday in Delray on a proposal to issue a five-year permit for the
incinerator. Based on industry figures, Detroit's incinerator burns 3.35
tons of waste a day-more than any other incinerator in the country. The
hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Delray United Action
Council, 7914 West Jefferson, where local residents, health and
environmental experts will testify.

Donele Wilkens, executive director of Detroiters Working for Environmental
Justice-one of 11 groups calling for the incinerator shutdown-said
Wednesday's hearing presents an opportunity for residents and the new city

"The mayor says children are his number one priority," said Wilkens, "This
is a great chance for the mayor and all of us to get rid of this thing that
is bad for our children's health and gives Detroit a dirty name."

Environmentalists say until the incinerator is closed, the DEQ should reduce
the amount of waste that is burned, require additional pollution controls
that would lower toxic emissions and ban the most hazardous substances.
Environmental groups have also requested a second hearing near the
incinerator site, at 5700 Russell Street, so residents closest to the
incinerator can comment on the proposed permit.  

Monitoring data for the incinerator obtained by the Sierra Club shows that
more than 25 tons of hazardous toxins a year are discharged into the
atmosphere, including mercury, carbon monoxide and lead. 

Pollutants emitted by the Detroit Incinerator have been linked to
significant health and environmental problems.  Many of these pollutants are
particularly harmful to vulnerable populations, such as children, the
elderly and those who are already suffering from respiratory or heart

The hearing comes in the wake of a Michigan Senate Great Lakes Conservation
Task Force report January 17 that calls for a reduction in airborne toxins.
The report singles out municipal waste incinerators as the second leading
source of mercury contamination in Michigan and a threat to the lakes.  

Groups that support closure of Detroit's incinerator are the American Lung
Association of Michigan, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social
Services, Citizens Environment Alliance of southwestern Ontario and
southeast Michigan, Ecology Center, Hamtramck Environmental Action Team,
League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan
Environmental Justice Coalition, Southeastern Michigan Group of the Sierra
Club, and the University of Michigan Environmental Justice Group. 


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