Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on August 16, 1970 · Page 61
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August 16, 1970

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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 61

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Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 16, 1970
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Page 61
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Page 61 article text (OCR)

A' ! '•-«The environment Throw-away binge prelude to disaster By STEWART L. UDALL WESTPORT, Coin. — If this wealthy bedroom town on Long Island Sound is any omen, America's'solid waste crisis has reached the tragicomic stage that precedes disaster. West port's 32,000 residents (including the Paul Newmans, Bette Davis, Harry Reasoner and a daily tide of /« t TV and advertising execu- ITJ i. tives ) generate UdaU 80 tons of trash a day — five pounds per person. Ask them about their "Bird Rookery" and they'll laugh or cry or try to run you out of town. In April and May the Rookery was considered just about the funniest thing Westport had ever seen. A huge gray garbage dump on the Saugatuck River, it had been growing by absurd heaps and mounds, spreading onto the ancient town green and wafting its gentle odors into the nearby office of Mayor John J. Kemish. A resident population of 20,000 seagulls commandeered the site; they stood shoulder to shoulder atop Westport's non-recycled morsels and screeched aloft for dive-bombing runs on the municipal parking lot and town hall. Kemish sat in his office and fiinied under the bombardment. . A good, proud man who had no choice but to become one of the nation's foremost experts on garbage, he warned his constituents again and again that they were all running out of places to bury .the residues of their high- 'style living. The town was 97 per cent developed, he said, and the remaining 3 per cent was mostly swampland, unfit for garbage because of the health hazard. Profligate two-acre zoning and dizzying population growth had simply gobbled up the land. Shortly after taking office in 1968, Kemish closed down two open-pit burning dumps that were polluting the air. He banned the collection of brooms, mops, old furniture and other non-kitchen items (which people now strew along highways or give to' Goodwill Industries). He ordered separate pick-ups for magazines, newspapers and cardboard (which must be neatly stacked and tied by homeowners for shipment to a recycling plant). And Kemish kept up his warnings of disaster. But few people listened. After all, their kitchen garbage was still being picked up, wasn't it? If things got real tight, they'd find a new dump somewhere, wouldn't they? June was a cruel month, The Rookery toppled in on the municipal parking lot. Kemish swore under his breath, closed the dump, and ordered a complete halt in trash collections. For four day? garbage piled up in everybody's home. Wertport stopped laughing. During this surrealist interlude, all humor was unintentional. It was seriously suggested that commuters carry bags of trash onto New York bound trains each morning and dump them from trestles in Norwalk, Stamford and smaller towns along the way. Other sites nominated for dumping were the Westport public golf course, the Compo Point marina, a 45-acre gravel pit surrounded by homes, and the South Jersey pine barrens. Of these, only the gravel pit makes the slightest sense as a dump, but the owners won't let the town use it until they can get their gravel out. After four days of near- bloody public hearings with his Board of Finance and his Sanitary and Zoning Commissions, Kemish won grudging permission to reopen Hendrich's Point, one of the sites he had closed in 1968. Burning is not allowed, but the renewed dumping has outraged homeowners along the Saugatuck River. In clear violation of state laws, wastes from Hendrich's Point are leaching into the river whenever it rains. Westport is up against it — a harbinger of doom for America's no-deposit, no-return style of consumption. Hendrich's Point will be completely filled in 18 months or less, and after that the town will have nowhere else to turn. In quiet desperation, Kemish is searching far and wide for a way out. He has studied garbage - shredding devices in Wisconsin, composting techniques in Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and Germany, and compacting methods in Japan. None of these approaches is economically feasible or technologically ironed out. Last week Kemish even ordered an extra-heavy bulldozer onto the mounds at Hendrich's Point in a futile attempt to squeeze them down. The man is trying harder than anyone I know, but he and his town are in very deep trouble. They may finally have to resort to garbage incineration — at a painful cost in polluted air. Whatever Westport decides, its crisis is a lesson to every U.S. community that has gone on a throw-away binge since World War II. New York and San Francisco, to name only two cities in difficult straits, will fill up their dumping grounds in just a few more years. What then? The answer is not hard to see. Either we will le,arn to recycle our wastes and become less profligate and fevered consumers, or the Age of Aquarius will give way to the Age of the Bird Rookery. ., Aug. 19, The. Arizona Republic Doomsday predictions refuted by 50 experts Universal Science News Despite increasing national concern over pollution, a top- level study by 50 university, government and industry experts has concluded that there is no support for doomsday predictions: The analysis, launched to assess the state of knowledge about the effects of pollution, states that man's biggest problem is his limited knowledge about the actual effects of pollution on life and climate. Two of the biggest unknowns are the effect of carbon dioxide being belched into the air and the future consequences of supersonic transports spewing water vapor and exhaust particles into the high atmosphere. In fact, the experts said that "uncertainties about contamination by the SET and its effects must be resolved" before extensive flights begin. Putting down another bugaboo, the group saw no danger that airborne carbon dioxide would raise the temperature in this century to the point that polar ice would melt and rising sea levels would drown most coastal cities. However, they warned that the longer term consequences of carbon dioxide in the air "are so large that more must be learned ... if society is to have time 10 adjust to The fear that burning oil, gas and coal will decrease oxygen in the atmosphere to the point that we'll all be gasping for breath some day was dismissed as a "nonproblem." The group viewed thermal or heat pollution as a local rather than aworldwide threat, and concluded that even if the world output of electric energy from atomic and conventional power plants increase sixfold by the year 2000 it will not add enough heat to change global climate. And, although they are controversial, plans to store the wastes from nuclear reactors in a deep Kansas salt mine will take care of the wastes permanently and remove any danger, the study concluded. Dr. Alvin Weinberg, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said that when the heat of the radioactive materials in their steel drums melted the salt, the burial pits would be sealed for hundreds of millions of years. Another example of effective disposition of waste pollutants was the proposal of a subgroup led by Prof. Milton Katz of the Harvard Law School that the 1,800,000 pounds of c r a n k c a s e oil dumped into rivers each year be reclaimed at government di-jx*ii Ihi a w/iall repurchase •'»,1* EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN PRICED LOWER 'LOBE SHOPPING CITY nt!Y A T GMAtBBtt * IOWEST PBtCES * FACTORY AUTHORIZED SERVICE ^ wmm FAST &ai * GLOBE EASY CREDIT Big Globe Discounts On Whirlpool's Finest Washer and Dryer Combo! Hurry In And Save!! "' — BANKAMEBICAftO. master charge iJ^NT^^^ftHi^ Jis^SS*"-] "^*fl/»*.« X • Vn>: i fair. *. . ^* "*fcor « ~_ *™O(I. TT fllHH^.i • ' vtfVu. •^rj Kr*-v< ^'"MI f^>^1l NT *. r^'W^te; iSM i a^S^Sife^S^*^ ?-.-» b« p^rfe""* 11 ° T —imBM te-*= 2 Speed 3 Cyele Automatic Washer With Permanent Press Cycle! 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