By Chris Brancato
“Toxic Legacy” brought about a lot of key elements concerning our environment and the disregard that many large-named corporations have for it. Unfortunately, a lot of corporations search for the cheapest means of disposal, no matter the result. I really liked how Toxic Legacy revealed the horrifying effects that the paint sludge from Ford’s waste had and just how much of an impact it had on a community that was losing it’s say on things with every day that passed.
What I found to be the most interesting in Toxic Legacy was just how little the higher ups and EPA were willing to listen to the members of the community that were being most affected. It was almost as if these people were being designated as second-rate citizens. The EPA deemed a failed attempt of cleanup during the last decade as being satisfactory, when in fact, based on Mr. Crumb’s standards, was nowhere near.
“That day in February 2004, EPA officials gave the same assurances as before – that some small amount of sludge got overlooked and Ford would take care of it. For representatives said they had done, and would continue doing, whatever the EPA wanted. I was astounded,” wrote Jan Barry in The IRE Journal. This statement alone to me signified how devastating the entire situation was. Not only were these horrible things occurring within people’s properties, but lives were being ruined, and on top of all that, the EPA was unjustifiably turning a blind eye. The people of the community must have felt entirely hopeless and alone.
The images that were being shown of these people who faced skin damage in complete relation to the sludge’s presence were graphic, but a cruel sign of reality. As time passed, a clean up become increasingly demanded, and although it was a matter that would take plenty of time to completely resolve, the fact that it took nearly 10 years to initiate to any sort of near acceptable level was preposterous.
The mob’s involvement was another curveball that obviously served a huge role in the matter, primarily as a scare tactic. Not only were people becoming more and more frightened to speak up, but I’m sure that they were feeling totally trapped. Nobody wanted to buy the property consider the recession and the condition of the property, yet the people who were living there were constantly fighting health threats every single day. It was the worst type of catch-22 imaginable.