GPSs Used at Ground Zero to Prevent Illegal Transport

New York -- To curb the transport of debris from Ground Zero to unauthorized sites, officials on Monday place global positioning systems (GPS) on more than 120 trucks to track debris from the World Trade Center (WTC) site to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, N.Y., according to the New York Post.

The city now can track haulers as they carry scrap metal and other debris to prevent supposed organized crime families from stealing the debris and selling it for profit. One month ago, 250 tons of scrap metal from ground zero were found in three unofficial dumps in Long Island, N.Y., and New Jersey.

With the GPS units, if a truck is diverted or hijacked, its engine can be electronically immobilized by dispatchers located near Ground Zero. The devices also emit alerts if the transmitter is tampered with or goes offline, or if a truck speeds or travels too far from its authorized route.

The move met with little protest - most drivers supported it, with only a handful strongly resisting.

The units cost about $1,000 each, and monitoring costs $150 per hour per unit. If the devices are used non-stop for the nine months that the remaining cleanup is expected to take, the city will pay more than $100 million for the security measure.

The city also will begin taking photos of the trucks as they leave Ground Zero and again as they enter Fresh Kills.

To date, more than 3,300 people are missing at the site, and officials estimate that 40 percent of the debris has been removed.

In a related story, WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein has suggested creating a separate landfill with debris from the fallen towers in the Hudson River just north of Battery Park City, and building a memorial to the victims on top.

Although he admitted that the idea is unrealistic, it has opened the door for discussion as to what to do with the debris. He suggested that a commission be set up to collect public opinion and eventually select a memorial design.