Memorial Day: Bad Air in Delaware

Today is a "Code Orange" bad air day in Delaware.  This means breathing may not be a good idea  Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be as bad or worse:

"A Code Orange air quality forecast for ozone or particulate matter is a level of pollution that can be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as young children, the elderly, and those with heart and/or respiratory conditions. Such persons should limit outdoor activities, especially those that require a high level of exertion."

The actual circumstances include high ozone, high particulates, excessive heat, high humidity, and high pollen counts.  All of these, individually, put stresses on the human body.  Combine them with unaccustomed exertion and fumes from cooking fires and meat grilling, and you can be in trouble.  Take care.

Note:  As always, Green Delaware points out that the official notices are strictly "blame-the-victim" in the sense that they tell individuals to change their actions but don’t call for comparable actions by big industrial polluters and utilities.  For example, power plant operators should be required to switch to cleaner fuels when possible, and utilities should invoke energy efficiency and load control measures.

Nor do they represent the combined effects of multiple pollutants and the other stressors we mention above.

Recommendations from Green Delaware:

(1)     Delaware needs to begin using an air quality reporting system that takes into account the combined effects of multiple air pollutants, and the combined effects of air pollutants, temperature, pollen, and humidity;

(2)     Delaware needs to require air polluters to dial down their emissions during bad air episodes; and

(3)     Delaware needs to stop promoting activities that worsen air quality, such as the reopening of the Markell/Coons Refinery and the building of a new  Route 301 freeway  The health of residents needs higher priority.

Do you agree?  Let Governor Markell, 800.292.9570

For more information see this and this and this and this.

Passing of Lee Smucker.

Lee Smucker of Newark was a chemistry professor, musician, recycling advocate, and supporter of civil rights and other social concerns.  He was a long-time member and leader at the Newark Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship and the Newark Community Band.   He played an important role in Green Delaware’s efforts to keep polluting garbage incinerators, promoted by the Dirty Solid Waste Authority, out of Delaware. 

Lee passed on May 22.  He will be missed.  The memorial service is this afternoon.  Obit here.

Jane Nogaki

Some years ago our friends at the Dirty Solid Waste Authority came up with a bright idea:  Burn Delaware’s garbage in New Jersey.  (As is often the case when something bad is happening, Delmarva Power was also involved.)

A scheme to put a garbage incinerator in Pennsville, just across the Delaware River from various ill-managed, polluting Dirty Authority facilities in Delaware, was fairly well advanced when Green Delaware and others got wind of it. 

In the process of stopping this scheme we got to know Jane Nogaki and others at the New Jersey Environmental Federation, affiliate of Clean Water Action. 

In the following years we had the pleasure of working with Jane on nuclear, pesticide, river-pollution, and other issues.  Jane and her husband Roger are moving to Florida.  Jane and Roger are exceptional people and their departure from the area leaves a gap that will be difficult to fill.  Norm Cohen’s column says it well.

Here’s an excerpt from Green Delaware News #23, October, 1999:

Pennsville NJ garbage incinerator officially dead

Conectiv (Atlantic Electric/Delmarva Power) officially announced their abandonment of the Pennsville New Jersey burner (intended to burn Delaware garbage), and say they aren’t interested in the garbage burning business. Pennsville Deputy Mayor Bob Jack told Green Delaware the Township Committee decided the environmental risks weren’t worth the claimed benefits. He said the most telling piece of information for him was that the prototype burner in Robbins, IL, had violated its air pollution permit more than seven hundred times in its first months of operation. Jack gave the Concerned Citizens of Pennsville credit for bringing forth this information.
Pennsville officials threaten Dr. Paul Connett:   Dr. Paul Connett, the world-famous incineration expert, spoke in Pennsville on April 15, 1998. Afterwards a township official called this writer asking for his address. Rather than a thank-you note, they sent him a letter accusing him of defaming township officials and demanding an apology.
New Jersey objections blacked out:   The Gannett-owned Wilmington News Journal (known to some as the "Stooge Journal") received many letters from New Jersey residents objecting to the attempt to burn Delaware garbage in their state. So far as we could determine after talking to Letters Coordinator Betty Heidelberg, all these letters were thrown out by the Journal. 

Memorial Day

Remembering the Quiet, Unsung Heroes of America


Another three-day holiday weekend arrives. Here in the Northeast spring has finally sprung! Throughout the United States workers and students alike enjoy the five federal Monday holidays as well-earned vacation days. Yet these five holidays all have unique meanings, and Memorial Day is especially poignant for many families.

This Monday we take time to remember the soldiers who have fought for us.  Families dress gravesites with flowers, share treasured photos, and participate in Memorial Day parades. Those of us who have not experienced personal loss reflect on the coffins coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. We remember how the media exposed the Walter Reed Hospital as less of a healing haven and more of a bureaucratic maze. We ache for soldiers who come home with brain damage from IEDs, loss of limbs, and horrifying war stories. We pay attention.
On this Memorial Day, I am watching my three-month-old grandson and hoping. Can I imagine him at war? Absolutely not!  Will he be a patriot? Absolutely. Defend his family? Yes. But I know that as I hold him, rock him, coo to him, cuddle and sing, the Congress of the United States is considering a bill that would allow the President to go to war without anyone else’s approval.
It’s dubbed the "endless war" bill. This country has been at war so long, a generation has grown up thinking that is just the way it is. I can’t stand that.  Not just because of my grandson, but because of the endless waste. Some wars are won. But the devastation is so extraordinary, it ends up defining history. The sacrifice on every side is unfathomable. This Memorial Day I am thanking all those who have served and suffered. I am also thinking of peace.  A federal budget that is not primarily spent on weapons and war. A future for all our sons and daughters with no thoughts of having to die on a battlefield somewhere far from home. I will spend this holiday Memorial Day on vacation with my family — grateful, remembering, and wishing — plus readying myself to get back to my day job working for peace every single day. Peace for my baby boy Bennett and for all of the babies everywhere.
By Susan Shaer
Women’s Action for New Directions Executive Director

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *