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Alternative to SANDER

October 11, 1987

This is in response to your editorial ("Propositions H and J Should Be Defeated") of Oct. 4.

SANDER, unfortunately, is not dead but is being held in a state of suspended animation by the city staff. Advocates of mass burning wastes are still alive and kicking.

San Diego's air pollution ranks as fifth highest among the cities of the nation. Trash burners can only worsen our air quality. Nor is air pollution the only problem with these plants. The ash residues from a large scale incinerator such as SANDER amount to tens of thousands of tons annually. The ashes must be treated as hazardous waste as EPA tests have shown that these ashes contain many hazardous, toxic chemicals. Safe disposal of the ashes will be costly, yet the SANDER backers have not adequately addressed this problem.

These are some of the threats to our environment and health posed by the huge trash incinerators that prompted the supporters of the Clean Air Initiative to get it before the voters on the November ballot.

There is an alternative to the trash burners today. It is to place the highest priority on reducing the waste stream. For starters, this means mandatory source separation of recyclables, composting and reusing much of what we now throw away. The alternative means rethinking how we use our limited resources. It means fostering new markets for recycled products together with allied industries. It means conservation in the true sense of the word. This alternative won't happen overnight. Studies have shown that a 50% reduction in the waste can be attained. A 10-year goal to meet this objective is reasonable.

Passage of Proposition H, the Clean Air Initiative, will safeguard our health and get the wheels rolling on the path that opts for cutting down our wastes through an aggressive recycling program and ultimately, stop our profligate waste of our natural resources.

EDWARD M. KIMURA

San Diego

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