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Desert Dumping

October 16, 1988

For years, scrap collectors felt it was their right to collect, store, and burn toxic wastes in the desert community of Rosamond. The desert, as your reporter pointed out, was viewed by these persons as a place free from "big city rules and regulations."

As your article ("Rosamond Malignant Mystery," Part I, Sept. 30) documented, this attitude has led to a community polluted by toxic wastes which may be killing the town's inhabitants. It appears that the "individualists" who skulked off to the desert with their toxic wastes, who interpreted minding one's own business to mean having a total disregard for safety and human life, got a little more than they bargained for. Along with their precious "freedom," they have rampant disease, children dying of cancer at five times the statewide rate, and a terrible legacy of polluted soil and air.

When will some desert dwellers (and users) learn that simply leaving behind the city does not qualify one to leave behind respect for humanity, the environment, and laws intended to protect us all? Our deserts have, sadly, become dumping grounds for all manner of waste, including the type of human who looks no further than his or her own interest and profit, and to hell with everyone and everything else.

ERIC NORRIS

Highland

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