Environment Picture

Path to cheaper, cleaner trash disposal in Detroit rife with political pitfalls

Politics and constant transition in Detroit’s leadership this year has frustrated Detroiters working to establish cleaner, cheaper alternatives to the Detroit incinerator for disposal of the city’s garbage.

But MEC Community Outreach Director Sandra Turner-Handy has been at the forefront of the effort, meeting with mayoral staffers and key allies in Detroit in an effort to keep the politics of confusion from undermining good policy decisions.

The Michigan Environmental Council has worked closely with key citizen groups throughout the city who have presented smart, aggressive plans to let recycling and landfilling replace incineration. That solution would reduce asthma-inducing smog, lower disposal costs and create jobs in the city.

Mixed signals on the issue from the administration of new Mayor Dave Bing and from the Detroit City Council have made keeping up with the incinerator saga a daunting task.

Turner-Handy was part of a June protest in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue designed to call attention to the hazards of the incinerator, which contributes to Detroit childhood asthma rates three times the national average and trash disposal rates several times higher than suburban rates.

MEC is part of the New Business Model Coalition, a 10-organization group, which established a workable alternative to incineration and presented it to the Detroit City Council.
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