Neighbors around the South Deering community are eagerly awaiting the city’s final word on whether to license the controversial South Side Recycling plant.
Earlier this week, a city assessment said the plant would not adversely affect the health of residents. But the defenders, who protested against the plant, disagree.
Residents of South Deering and Hegewisch face greater risks of chronic diseases, including cancer, than residents of most other Chicago neighborhoods. Additionally, the cancer rate in these neighborhoods is among the highest in Chicago, said Megan Cunningham, deputy chief commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
See: The metal scraper on the southeast side would not have an adverse effect on the health of residents: assessment of the city
However, the study conducted by the municipality environmental consultant Tetra Tech found that pollution would not make the threat of cancer higher than the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
In a statement, Southside Recycling said:
According to CDPH’s own statements, Southside Recycling has undergone the most rigorous and comprehensive study of a proposed industrial facility ever conducted in Chicago. The facts are clear: we have built the most environmentally friendly metal recycling facility in the country, but politicians, government officials and the media are intimidated by a small but vocal opposition and their persistent false narratives and misinformation aimed at demonizing our business and recycling.
Yesenia Chavez, resident of the southeast side and member of United neighbors of the 10th arrondissementsaid the neighborhood is already plagued with chronic illnesses – and any condition that could aggravate them should not be present.
As a third-generation resident of the Southeast Side, she has seen similar developments — and their impact on residents’ mental health — for a long time.
“Seeing high school kids in distress, seeing their angst through the roof because they don’t understand why a metal recycling company is located less than half a mile across the street from where they’re being sent to develop their brains and develop as students… you can’t explain that, you can’t quantify that at all,” Chavez said.