Northwest NEWS

January 10, 2000

Editorial

World should bring disposal and manufacture of toxins under control

   I am deeply disturbed about the problems noted with disposal of deadly toxins in the U.S. I came upon this matter while doing a report about Hazardous Waste Management issues and related public concerns.

   I was shocked when I discovered that 10 to 20 percent of all garbage in our waste fields is non-biodegradable toxins. While you ponder this, consider the following: this represents 2.75 tons of toxic materials being produced for every man, woman, and child within the United States.

   What does this mean? According to Michael Kronowetter's Managing Toxic Wastes, we are producing over 700 million tons as a nation.

   After reading these facts I began to wonder if we, the people of the United States, should demand or pressure our government to implement stricter rules and regulations for the management of waste within the U.S. As an American citizen, I feel that we should have stricter rules to ensure our safety and give future children a safe and happy life free from chemical and toxic harm.

   This is in part because of incidents like Love Canal, where a residential town was built on top of an extremely toxic site, all of this without the notification of the town's people, which produced unexplained illnesses in the children of their community.

   Beyond this, we have other instances of incidents where the military has dangerously disposed of government wastes, some of which has been deadly toxins from chemicals and nuclear weapons. I feel that our nation is in danger, heading toward a possible road with limited options when dealing with our past mistakes from all of our toxins.

   If something is not done, our nation may soon turn into a diseased-waste-ridden land of tears and regret. It disturbs me to think of our great nation being killed by our own reluctance, greed, and minimum standards in dealing with toxic waste. It is safe to say that we are killing everything on this planet.

   You be the judge. I cannot believe, nor wish this on even the worst of our enemies, either now or in the future.

   When the world's next generations learn of the U.S. society, they will learn of us--a leading nation that was reluctant to deal with the byproducts of our own society, toxins and waste that poisoned and polluted the land that we lived on.

   Will we be considered an evil civilization and nation, one who almost destroyed their own lands and impacted the world? Will future mankind be left with a land left in ruins, will future generations live with mistakes for thousands of years to come? After all, it's a person's or nation's last great act, be it good or bad, for which they are remembered.

   So I say, we should stand up for ourselves, stop a recognized problem, and bring our toxic material disposal and the making of such toxins in check. For the sake of our futures, how about just for our own sake--now is better than later, you think?

Shane Smith, Woodinville (world citizen)