Chemical Dumps Are Ticking Time Bombs
“BETTER Things for Better Living Through Chemistry.” During the 1930’s that was a slogan that heralded a new age. However, little did anyone suspect these “better things” would create an “environmental Frankenstein’s monster.”
People were then delighted with new products created by chemicals. Our wardrobes, homes and cars became filled with nylons, rayons, cellophanes and plastics. New “miracle” pesticides and man-made fertilizers multiplied our food. Scientists were then praised for “creating new things that Nature forgot.”
But millions of gallons of chemical wastes came with these “new things that Nature forgot.” Tragically, these wastes were often carelessly dumped. “The stuff was tucked away,” said Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Steffen Plehn. “It was out of sight, out of mind”—forgotten, but not for long.
One huge dumping site was an abandoned water canal in New York State (U.S.A.) near famous Niagara Falls. The waterway was named after its builder, William Love, who, back in 1894, attempted to join two rivers and create a model city. His dream failed and all that remained was Love Canal, an uncompleted mile-long (1.6 km) ditch, 10 to 40 feet deep and generally 45 feet wide.a
By the tons, chemical waste, most packaged in 55-gallon (208-L) drums, were cast by a new owner into Mr. Love’s canal. From the 1920’s through 1953 Hooker Chemical Company reportedly admitted to dumping 21,800 tons of chemicals there. The city of Niagara Falls added its share. So allegedly did the U.S. Army. Then in 1953 this witches’ brew was covered with earth and allowed to “cook” as barrels rotted and the chemicals combined.
The land was “sold” by Hooker Chemical to the Board of Education of Niagara Falls for $1.00 (U.S.). A school and housing development were built on the site. Soon a pleasant neighborhood settled on this massive chemical graveyard.
The “time bomb” was set, and now ticking. It was destined to “explode” with such impact that this spot would become front-page news and the focus of international attention. It became what may “very well be the first of a new and sinister breed of environmental disasters,” according to a special report sent to the governor of New York State.
Does this incident provide substantial evidence that man is “ruining the earth,” unlike in any other period in history? Does it perhaps portend that soon God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth” by divine action? These are significant questions to ponder as you read what chemical wastes have done.—Rev. 11:18.
But just how sinister was this offspring of the ‘new thing that nature forgot’? What effect did it have on the lives of those living on the site? The following exclusive interview with a family who lived on top of this public health time bomb provides some startling answers.
a 1 foot equals .3 m.