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Great Lakes Article:

Incinerator opposed


By Mary Agnes Welch Star Staff Reporter

The largest garbage incinerator in the United States -- located a few miles from downtown Windsor -- has again raised the hackles of environmentalists.


Dozens gathered in a Detroit church basement Monday to oppose a state permit that would allow the incinerator to operate for another five years.


The incinerator, located a few blocks east of Wayne State University, burns about 2,000 tons of garbage per day, emitting more than 1,800 tons of hazardous air pollutants like mercury, lead and smog-producing nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds every year.


Michigan environmentalists say the incinerator's emissions are linked to significantly higher rates of lead poisoning, asthma and other respiratory ailments in the mostly poor neighbourhoods of downtown and east Detroit.


The same pollutants waft over Windsor, says Shawn Hupka of Windsor's Citizens Environment Alliance. "It certainly causes a lot of our problems," he said. "We're getting it, wind or no wind."


The CEA is preparing a written objection to the permit renewal, asking for the incinerator to be shut down.


At the very least, neighbours and environmentalist want state-of-the-art technology added to the incinerator to reduce emissions.


Bette Huster, a neighbourhood resident with family in Windsor, also gave the Department of Environmental Quality staffers a copy of a new report linking Windsor's high levels of cancer to pollution.


The city of Detroit, which owns the facility, has said the incinerator is safe, complies with emissions rules and significantly reduces the amount of landfill space used.


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