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---July 11, 1988---
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A manufacturer of mass burn (garbage) incinerators has proposed a novel solution to the solid waste problem for the city of San Diego, which is California's third largest city (pop. 875,000). Ogden Martin Systems (a mass burn incinerator manufacturer), and Taconic Resources--together calling themselves Recycle 2000--want to collect 1.3 million tons of the city's garbage at curbside, already sorted into two components, recyclable and non-recyclable. The recyclables (bottles, cans, and paper) would be loaded onto ships and exported to Mexico and to Pacific Rim countries (China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan); the non-recyclables (everything else) would be sent by train across the desert to a dump on the Campo Indian reservation. The plan would handle about 80% of the city's garbage.

Last year the San Diego City Council had backed a mass burn incinerator on Kearny Mesa but the plan collapsed when city voters overwhelmingly passed an initiative all but outlawing such plants because of environmental and health considerations. The city's Miramar landfill is expected to be filled by 1995. The plan offered by "Recycle 2000" would extend the life of the Miramar landfill by 25 to 30 years because most of the non-recyclable garbage would end up with the Indians, according to the LOS ANGELES TIMES (May 12, 1988, Part II, p. 3).

The Indians reportedly favor the plan because they would be paid for taking the garbage and they desperately need the income. "It's the worst kind of exploitation," said one observer in San Diego.

Diane Takvorian, Executive Director of the San Diego-based Environmental Health Coalition, told HWN she fears there's more than meets the eye in the "Recycle 2000" proposal. The plan would require authorities to spend $2 million to refurbish an old railroad traversing the desert. Once the railroad is ready, there would be nothing to stop its use for sending part of San Diego's trash past the Campo Indian Reservation out to Imperial County where Ogden-Martin has trash-to-steam proposals pending.

Others in San Diego share Ms. Takvorian's suspicion of the project. They note that the man behind "Recycle 2000" is Richard Chase, who has been pushing a trash-to-steam project in San Marcos. "Ogden is going to get some burning out of this, you wait and see," said a local official who asked not to be named.

For more information, contact Diane Takvorian, Environmental Health Coalition, 1844 Third Ave., San Diego, CA 92101; phone (619) 235-0281.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.

Descriptor terms: msw; san diego; mexico; china; korea; transportation; incineration; ogden martin systems; recycling; taconic resources; landfilling; miramar landfill; native americans; diane takvorian; environmental health coalition; richard chase;

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