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Passaic River Clean-up

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 912
  • Category: Fishing

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Throughout the industrial era of the United States and the 20th Century, the Passaic River was a dumping ground for many wastes and chemicals left behind by industrial companies. Dozens of companies are held responsible for the pollution of the Passaic River. Not long ago, it was found to be contaminated and polluted and most of the biodiversity residing there, especially in the lower eight miles by Newark Bay, have found to be contaminated the worst. In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came out with a plan that will ultimately clean up the Passaic River.

It all started in the mid-20th century when companies started dumping toxic waste into the river but the most notable of these companies was Diamond Alkali (later Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Company), which manufactured pesticides and herbicides along with a big number of other manufacturers which left a significant mark on the river. Although the river runs throughout Northern New Jersey for more than eighty miles, it links with the Hackensack River and creates the Newark Bay right in the heart of the most densely populated area in New Jersey and the State’s powerhouse industrial sector. A huge majority of the dumping and pollution that took place in the Passaic River happened in the last eight miles where it is extremely populated.

The Manufacturing industries in the area left behind many harmful chemicals such as Dioxins, Mercury, and PCB’s into the river’s sediments according to the EPA. This caused many harmful diseases to be released to the ecosystem. Ever since 1994, there have been fishing and crabbing regulations in that area. According to EPA officials, short-term exposure to Dioxin can cause skin lesions and altered liver function, and long-term exposure can cause reproductive and developmental problems, disruptive hormone function, damage to the immune system and thyroid function, and cancer.

Ever since the plan to clean up the river was released; New Jersey officials will be rushing to get the project moving as soon as possible. Not only will it generate hundreds of jobs, but it will also raise environmental awareness in an area where pollution is widespread. It will also hold over 100 companies accountable and responsible for the pollution and they will have to pay for the entire 1.7-billion dollar proposed cleanup project. This shows that regardless of the company, nobody can ever be granted immunity when the environment is involved and harmed.

The issue that the state of New Jersey and the EPA face is that the companies responsible with paying the bill will be holding off and stalling the project as much as possible until they find any way to get out of being held responsible. Officials estimate that it can take more ten years to get the project started and for all the companies to begin paying their fines. In 2016, out of the 100 companies held responsible, none of them came forward to pay what they owe. Many residents were pleased to hear that there will be action taken against the pollution as these chemicals released can cause both short-term and long-term issues for people in the area. People were distraught, and heartbroken to hear that it may take over ten years for cleanup to begin.

Cleaning up the river will result in jobs, and much more importantly, higher land values. In an area where most people in New Jersey live, a higher land value would be a great economic boost as it will make the area cleaner and safer to live in; resulting in more investments and opportunities in the area. Places that have high land value always attract wealthier residents who are seeking nice places to live and work good jobs. Also, high end businesses and real estate companies can bring their beauty and influence on the area if it were to have a higher land value. State officials understand this, and this is one of the reasons why they want to get the area cleaned up. When the Passaic River gets cleaned up, it will remove the toxic chemicals that affected resident’s health and wellbeing which ultimately result them and the state saving money on healthcare.

The cleanup effort consists of capping the entire lower eight miles with a physical barrier made of sand and stone that will isolate the contaminated sediment that resides at the bottom. But before a cap is placed, over 3.5 Million cubic yards of sediment that has been polluted with tens of thousands of highly toxic chemicals will be removed, treated, and transported to be safely dumped offshore. The cap placed on the bay and river will not cause or contribute to any flooding in the area. Also, it will be monitored by workers to make sure it is working and will be frequently evaluated, especially after big storms that could’ve had an effect on the cap.

In conclusion, the state, the EPA and other environmental organizations along with residents and business owners are pushing for this clean up as it will have a very positive effect on the local economy, resident’s health, job opportunities, and environmental benefits. The best part of this for all the parties wanting this clean up is that they won’t pay anything, and no taxpayer money will be used for the cleanup. It will be entirely financed by the ones who destroyed it. The most important thing for manufacturers and industrialists all over the country understand that polluting the land and having an apathetic attitude towards the environment will lead to punishments and being held responsible.

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