Triple Pundit, 16 May 2016
People often aren’t aware of the harmful chemicals they put down their drains and how those substances might impact the environment. These chemicals can create toxic landfills, presenting a serious problem that is difficult for waste management companies to overcome. As toxic dumps smolder, the air pollution risks increase.
For example, residents near the West Lake landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, have complained of lung problems caused by toxic fumes from radioactive waste dumped there and related to the U.S. government’s Manhattan Project. Some residents have lung cancer thought to be caused by the toxic fumes.
The Brotherhood of Teamsters, founded well over a century ago in 1903, has a membership of over 1.4 million women and men. Republic Services held its annual shareholders meeting in Phoenix on May 9. Teamsters with the Solid Waste and Recycling Division showed up for the meeting, along with community activist Beth Roach, to protest what the Teamsters believe is mismanagement of landfills as well as an unresponsiveness to the local communities impacted.
This isn’t the first time the Teamsters have attempted to make an impact on the landfill problem. On May 4, the Teamsters lodged a ‘formal human rights complaint’ with the United Nations against Republic Services in regard to the company’s radioactive landfills. In that complaint, the union was joined by the two founders of local activist group JustMoms STL and the founder of the Center for Health and Environment Justice. Their report tackled the ongoing problems with the West Lake Bridgeton landfill. The group continues to call for the company to be accountable for its actions by doing something to rectify the problem and has asked that the government intercede.