China’s reckless trash incineration is releasing toxins into the air which are making their way to American shores, says the New York Times.
After surpassing the United States as the world’s largest producer of household garbage, China has embarked on a vast program to build incinerators as landfills run out of space. But these incinerators have become a growing source of toxic emissions, from dioxin to mercury, that can damage the body’s nervous system.
And these pollutants, particularly long-lasting substances like dioxin and mercury, are dangerous not only in China, a growing body of atmospheric research based on satellite observations suggests. They float on air currents across the Pacific to American shores.
Not all Chinese incinerators are built alike. There are the kind that produce the results described above, then there are the clean kind. Those cost 10 times as much per ton of trash burned.
Why aren’t they forced to make them all clean? A “bureaucratic turf-war” is stopping China from creating a nation-wide standard for incinerators.
Far be it from the United States to tell another nation what to do–it’s just not our way, typically–but we think some diplomatic pressure in this case might be OK. With a sixth of the mercury falling in American lakes coming from Asia, we think its time for the US Government to step in and say “clean it up.”
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