Communities across the U.S. are pushing to close waste incinerators, citing them as a potential threat to public health.
Incinerators, which first emerged in the 1980s, were built to last around 30 years. Now, as many of the 86 waste incinerators across the country are reaching the end of their contracted lifespans.
According to a Pacific Standard report, grassroots organizations in some cities are working together as the Failing Incinerator Project to put pressure on local politicians and facilities that operate incinerators to shut them down.
Pacific Standard has more details:
In 1986, when the Detroit waste-to-energy incinerator first opened, activists scaled its enormous smokestack and hung a peace symbol on it in protest. When the same kind of incinerator opened in Commerce, California, in 1989, protesters chained themselves to the facility's smokestack.
Thirty years later, the communities that live in their shadow are still protesting these facilities. Built to last about 30 years, many of America's 86 waste-to-energy incinerators are reaching the end of their lifespans—and their contracts with the cities that house them—and they face costly upgrades if they are to remain operational.
"Cities are at a critical stage right now," says Ahmina Maxey, the United States and Canada coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. "Do they invest millions more into ancient technologies, or take those millions of dollars and invest them into strong zero-waste systems?"