By Steven Aliano
It’s amazing to see that a story that is as local as this has taken off to new heights ever since being reported in The Record and abroad. It’s refreshing that reporting on such a grave issue as this has as much publicity as it does now, and continues to be an important aspect of contamination removal and awareness in the tri-state area. Overall, it’s very inspiring to see all these articles come out of “Toxic Legacy” and the pressures that it puts on the Ford company and its hired clean up men. The wide variety of articles seems to completely examine this issue of paint sludge from all angles, and tells a lot of different perspectives through personal stories of residents dealing with the issue and those employed by Ford to do the dirty work, so to speak.
The thing that I found most interesting about the “Toxic Legacy” stories in The Record and on NorthJersey.com was the “mob” article. It amazes me that these haulers did their deeds without much thought as to how much exactly they were harming the environment. They did it so secretly and without any remorse, such as when the article states that they would mix the toxic fuel with oil and sold it to schools and other places during the 1970’s. What also amazes me is that they kept no records of where exactly they did all of their dumping. It is very bothersome that officials believe that there are even more toxic sites that are undiscovered and that they don’t even know about. Plus, they are understaffed and can’t go and find these sites if they wanted to, staying with the sites that they can control at the moment. It just seems to me that if things do not get done now, it can only get worse as time passes and as the public grows unaware of what is going on, and whether or not they are hurting the process even more (dirt biking/ATVs, among other things).
The entire process of disposing of this waste just seems so crazy as it was described in the article. It almost seemed like a drug deal, even though some laws were still passed in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It truly was that mob factor: intimidation, price gouging, the works. The fact that they could get away with it for so long is incredible, but luckily it doesn’t happen anymore.
From looking at pieces of this article, I fear for the future. It seems that there are just so many contaminated areas that we haven’t found yet, and more seem to be further worse off. If there can be even more awareness at this point, and not just by the tri-state area but nationally and globally, then we can certainly make some headway and be well staffed to take on this issue.