Detroit's recently appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr is charged with cleaning up the city's finances, but a group of Detroiters are also calling for pollution cleanup.
Dubbed "Michigan's Most Polluted Zip Code," Detroit faces a tangle of environmental problems. The city burns most of its trash; and there's no curbside recycling. An inadequate sewage system results in backups and untreated runoff. Lead contamination abounds, with from paint in old buildings to smelters that pollute the air and soil.
Rochelle Riley writes for the the Detroit Free Press that now is the time to address these problems:
"Emergency manager Kevyn Orr is here to straighten out the city’s finances and reorganize delivery of city services. But just as important as any of that, environmental advocates say Orr needs to address a stark but little-discussed fact: Detroit is a dirty city, and it desperately needs cleaning up."
The advocacy group Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice is drafting an agenda for Orr's consideration. As city services like the police and fire departments are overhauled, hopefully the long-term environmental and health costs of pollution can be taken into account.