• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Cleanup Update

Air Date: Week of

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Amy Eddings reports on the continuing concern of some New York City residents over the environmental effects of the World Trade Center disaster.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. It's been nearly a month since tragedy and terror struck the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Disaster relief officials still call the monumental cleanup a rescue and recovery effort. They estimate it could take as long as a year, as much as five billion dollars, to remove millions of tons of rubble. Meanwhile, the environmental effects of the cleanup are a growing concern for people who live and work near the site. Amy Eddings reports.

EDDINGS: No one knows how much debris is heaped at the site where the Twin Towers once stood, but they know how much is no longer there: 171,000 tons have been removed, hauled away in more than 11,000 truckloads. Steel girders are being melted down and recycled. Federal investigators are sifting through smaller pieces of rubble for clues and for the personal effects of the missing and the dead. Dust still coats buildings and windows and fires still burn at the site--an acrid smoke hangs in the air.

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to test for asbestos, lead and other hazardous materials and has found no significant health risk. But some business and community leaders have hired their own consultants, leaving people like Tak and Jessica Wong suspicious.

JESSICA WONG: There's conflicting results.

TAK WONG: Yeah. The governement says it's safe, but then people who hire their own, they say it's not.

EDDINGS: The Wongs joined hundreds of other residents, many who are still unable to get to their homes, for a Town Hall meeting. EPA acting regional administrator Bill Muszynsky said air, dust and soil samples do not have levels of pollutants that should worry residents in the short term.

MUSZYNSKY: The easiest way to find out where we've taken these samples, first and foremost, is to go to our Web site.


MUSZYNSKY: Then we'll have to provide you with some written information somehow, to get you to where those sites are.


EDDINGS: EPA's test results have been widely reported, but people seemed unconvinced that the agency's reassurances apply to them. At the Town Hall meeting, health and environmental officials were short on details. Asked if the ever-present smoke was harmful to a child, a health department spokesman could only say tests showed it was not a health risk to the general population. For Living on Earth, I'm Amy Eddings in New York.




Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth