March 9: Chester residents and CRCQL allies attend the Solid Waste Authority Board Meeting
Chester residents and CRCQL allies attend the Solid Waste Authority Board Meeting
March 9, 2022 – Media, PA – Residents from across Delaware County joined the Delco Solid Waste Authority (DCSWA) Board meeting on Wednesday, March 9th to hear more about the Board’s review of a new Covanta contract for Delaware County waste. Objections were made by CRCQL for the proposed terms.
Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL) has been fighting for clean air in Chester, PA and Delco County for decades. With the Covanta trash incinerator — the largest incinerator in the nation – burning trash daily right in Chester, it’s the source for a big portion of the air pollution in Chester and beyond. CRCQL has been pushing Delaware County to reconsider how it processes its waste, since sending the county’s trash to its largest community of color to be burned is an act of environmental racism.
Despite the fact that the County has hired Zero Waste Consultants to re-evaluate their waste practices, the Solid Waste Authority Board scheduled a review of the Covanta waste contract for their March 9 meeting. Chester residents and CRCQL allies from across the county joined the Solid Waste Authority Board meeting with signs to protest any renewal or continuation of the Covanta contract.
“The poisoning of children and our community should not go on for another 3 hours, 3 weeks, let alone another 3 years,” said Zulene Mayfield, the chairperson of CRCQL. “Any delay is way too long for the suffering that’s going on in Chester, and this is also a county-wide public health issue.”
Dozens of attendees filled the Board room and gathered outside the Hunt Club Building to eagerly hear the Solid Waste Authority Board’s meeting and discussion of the Covanta contract. Signs reading “Ban the Burn,” “No Ash for Cash,” and “No Covanta Contract” filled the room. Chester residents, Delaware County allies, and students from C4 – Campus Coalition Concerning Chester – peacefully attended the Solid Waste Authority Board meeting to provide comments and listen in on the deliberations.
The SWA Board stated they are still in negotiations with Covanta and no real details were given on the contract beyond a proposal of 3-years. The current contract expires April 30th.
Chester resident and new Solid Waste Authority Board member, Will Jones said, “It’s encouraging to see so many people standing up for their right to clean air. While reviewing the contract is necessary in order to move forward, I’m confident the Board can find alternative solutions to process our trash that don’t harm our residents like the incinerator does.”
Tyler White, a student with C-4, mentioned the IPCC’s report presented at the United Nations last week on the urgency of the global community to reduce emissions within the next 10 years. “The actual opportunities for what my future looks like is constantly dwindling and the decisions you make today affect future generations… we are trying to get you to understand we don’t have a lot of time. We are asking at the base-level to extend us the favor of also having that generational opportunity you’ve had for a future.”
Additionally, CRCQL objects to the continued use of the County-owned landfill for the incinerator’s toxic ash, which is largely made up of trash from New York and Philadelphia, resulting in increased costs for Delaware County residents.
Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL – pronounced “circle”) is a local grassroots community organization that has been leading the environmental justice movement in Chester, Pennsylvania since 1992. CRCQL relaunched a new strategic campaign in 2019 to shut down the Covanta trash incinerator in Chester, fight for stronger emission standards for other polluters and demand justice for the people of Chester, the surrounding communities for their health. Learn more at www.chesterresidents.org