By Victoria Ahlers
We discussed a lot in class about the “Toxic Legacy” report on the industrial contamination in the community of Ringwood. It is shocking, yet at the same time not surprising to me that after all the clean-up effort that went into getting rid of the paint sludge that the site was still toxic. What surprises me even more is that it was taken off the Superfund list, having not been completely, 100 percent cleaned up. "Toxic Legacy" was able to bring the situation back to the attention of officials; however, from what we discussed in class it seems that the situation is still being over looked by state and government officials.
One thing that is difficult to understand is how this situation is not being made a priority by the state and EPA officials. Not only does it have negative effects on the environment, and ecosystems in the area that has paint sludge, but it is also causing a number of serious health issues for the residents who live in the area. Why isn’t something of this nature being made a larger priority? The area where the paint sludge is most abundant is not the most wealthy and developed of areas in northern New Jersey; however that is no reason why it should be overlooked. The people of this community have been struggling to get more clean-up and removal of the waste for a number of years now.
"Toxic Legacy" was a great project and a great way to get other people informed on the real situation of the paint sludge, and how it was affecting the people of the community. According to a magazine article we read called “Toxic Living,” because of the newspaper project, further investigation of the dump sites took place and more than 14,000 tons of sludge and tainted soil were removed by Ford in 2005 (that was more than was removed in all the previous years of cleaning). It just goes to show that persistency and thorough investigation are key elements in accomplishing something like this. The reporters involved in the “Toxic Legacy” project consistently asked questions in regards to documents, files, and interviews having to do with the clean-up (or lack thereof at the time). As a result of the project, further clean-up of the site was done and the situation can no longer be swept under the rug.