Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Burn bad habits, not your trash

 

November 2, 2017



Burning trash is harmful to human health. When household garbage containing non-combustibles like plastics is burned on one resident’s private property in Haines, the effect of this air pollution is suffered by neighbors. According to the EPA, “Many dangerous health conditions can be caused by inhaling or ingesting even small amounts of these pollutants. Small children, the elderly, or people with preexisting respiratory conditions can be especially vulnerable to some of these pollutants.”

Who in our community doesn’t know a single child, a single elderly person, or someone with asthma? The list of health risks from exposure to innocent-sounding “backyard trash burning” includes cancer. With so many members of our community suffering from cancers, why are residents still burning substances which release dangerous carcinogens into the air right where we live and work? Why are people habitually burning substances inside the Haines Borough that the State of Alaska prohibits from open burns? Whether the reason lies in the high cost of safer trash disposal in our town, or in ‘course of habit,’ or in ignorance of the health risks this activity poses, it is time for a change. If you believe, like I do, that every Haines resident has a right to breathe clean air, please support local waste reforms—like those proposed by the Solid Waste Working Group. If you currently burn your own trash in your yard, please use safer disposal alternatives—including recycling for common plastics—it could save your life, or that of your neighbor.

Sally Boisvert

 
 

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