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Letter: Find another use for gasification site

Editor, The Spotlight:

The Bethlehem Town Board on April 25 heard a proposal by a firm called RST to develop a trash disposal facility in Glenmont on the tract of land along Route 144 between the Normans Kill and the PSEG electric generating facility.

Though the waste disposal technology is called “gasification”, the process nevertheless burns garbage, as does incineration.

This facility would bring in municipal solid waste (MSW or garbage) from out of the area by rail, barge and by truck to the site for processing. The presenters mentioned the possibility of 100-car unit garbage trains.

Waste incineration plants, including those plants with the most modern state-of-the-art air pollution controls, create and release into the air we breathe types of chemical compounds known as dioxins and furons, as well as countless other toxic chemical compounds in the form of ultra-fine particles (particles measured in thousandths of millimeters). These toxic particles are too small to be filtered and are so small they easily pass through and defeat our body’s defense systems including our skin, our blood-brain barrier and placental barriers. Some of these toxic substances form compounds similar to human hormones that our bodily systems cannot recognize as foreign objects. Therefore, they can cause all kinds of bodily dysfunction such as lung diseases, cancers, heart diseases and birth defects in developing fetuses.

This site has for too long been unused and could benefit the Capital Region and its residents. And there are ways to do that without the human and other environmental hazards of burning garbage. One use would be to develop a large-scale composting facility for organic wastes, such as food scraps from restaurants and households.

Another use would be to develop a “resource recovery park” where items unwanted by some people would be made available for re-use, and where the materials of other items are recycled. A resource recovery park could also include a composting facility. In some composting facilities, the heat, which is a natural by-product of composting, is captured and used to heat water. The heated water can then be put to a beneficial use. Facilities of this nature exist in other parts of the United States, most notably in California.

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