Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Toxic Legacy: What a Shame

By Alexis Lopez

When I see all of the documents and research pertaining to the “Toxic Legacy” reports of hazardous waste from the Ford Motor Company being dumped without any care, I feel sick to my stomach. Although I am not from Ringwood, substantial data that shows the deliberate sneakiness and foul play is concerning. Not only as a New Jersey resident, but as an American, I find the reports appalling.

I’m still having a hard time understanding how claims could have been made that these toxic sites were “taken care of” when that clearly was not the case. It’s also a shame that it took so long to come to this conclusion. I would hate to know that my nine-year-old twin nephews from Bergen County can potentially be playing in copious amounts of paint sludge when they go over to a friends’ house. To me, this revelation is completely and entirely unacceptable. 

It is not too much to ask for a clean and safe environment where people live. For those who were assigned to clean up these damaged areas, shame on you. We all have jobs and tasks to attend to in life as adults, and skimping out on those duties is pitiful. I am glad for the research and the data that has been collected thus far, which will help get these areas that are in dire need of help the attention they deserve. 

I think such reports give peace of mind to those who have been physically, emotionally and mentally affected by the wrongdoings of the Ford Motor Company. The fact that there are people who are reportedly ill from living in those areas is concerning. This is an event that never should have taken place to begin with, which is costing many innocent people their health and unnecessary grief.

Out of all the materials that I have read about “Toxic Legacy,” the part that strikes me the most is how long Ford was able to get away with this without being “found out,” so to speak. Another reason why I am so appalled has to do with the role the government played in enabling Ford to get away with this toxic behavior. This is an issue which absolutely should have had full attention 40 years ago, and certainly since then.

At this point, due to the negative publicity Ford and the federal government have received, I can only hope that these issues will be evaded no longer. Hopefully now, the rightful steps will be taken to alleviate the hazardous materials that are endangering North Jersey residents. Such disgraceful actions cause me to wonder how many other stories similar to this one are out there, beyond Ringwood, and beyond New Jersey—similar stories that have gone undetected and need immediate attention.

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