Brighten Sun Valley’s streets

In Opinion
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT

Imagine living in an an area that is littered with trash. The air quality is terrible, dust burns your eyes and the air reeks of an odor akin to rotten meat. Discarded chicken bones fall from the sky out of the mouths of gulls, and rats the size of dogs scurry around.

What I’m describing are what the residents of Sun Valley, an L.A. district, have actually seen and experienced because of the way that their recycling center, Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Inc., has been operating.

But the residents of Sun Valley aren’t strangers to these disgusting conditions; they’ve pleaded with the company and city officials for years to change how the facility handles its intake of waste.

Even though the company has claimed it’s addressed some of the issues, the grievances haven’t ceased.

Adding insult to injury, Community Recycling plans to expand the amount of waste that the company handles, according to the Los Angeles Times. It’s safe to assume that these aren’t the kind of changes the people of Sun Valley were hoping for.

Does anyone, other than the residents of Sun Valley, realize that taking in more garbage is just going to make things worse? It’s bad enough that people have had to live through these conditions for so long, even with the alleged changes.

This is especially appalling since health issues related to recycling operations do exist.

According to the Center of Sustainability, “Byproduct emissions from current recycling operations often release hazardous wastes into the environment. For example, steel smelters have become a large source of emissions.”

Complaints from residents of Sun Valley about the facility’s conditions and its interest in increasing its waste intake were heard last Friday during a public meeting, making it clear that the problems haven’t been addressed enough.

According to the Times, “Daniel P. O’Donnell, the city planner who presided over the hearing, urged company officials, residents and city officials to work together to come up with an improvement plan before the company’s proposal moves to the city Planning Commission later this spring.”

Disappointingly for the residents of Sun Valley, a solution to curb the filth doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight—but its not because city officials haven’t noticed any problems. Regulators of the facility have documented over 70 different violations but are yet to fine the recycling center for any of them.

This doesn’t make any sense; laws have been ignored as the facility continues to go about its business, a disturbing fact to say the least.

But the city itself relies on the facility, saying “A crackdown could imperil a recycling system that elected officials tout as essential to making Los Angeles an environmental leader. Failing to meet recycling targets could also trigger state fines.”

It looks as though the city government is sacrificing concerns simply for its own sake and essentially ignoring the interests of Sun Valley residents.

Continuing to delay the proper usage of the facility is only going to add more issues to the ones that already exist regarding the recycling center. Some residents of Sun Valley have suggested removing the facility altogether, but another health issue could arise if that were to happen.

According to Buzzle.com, “Abandoned dump sites can severely damage the surrounding environment. Harmful chemicals in the trash can mix into water and soil. This can cause water and soil pollution and harm plants and fish in the streams and lakes.”

When you consider how the facility has already been handled at this point, proposing to remove the the recycling center altogether might result in a dilemma such as this.

It’s a pretty dreary situation however you look at. O’Donnell is correct in believing that an agreement must be reached before things get any worse for Sun Valley. With years worth of complaints, ignoring the pleas of the people is as unhealthy as it is unethical.

Furthermore, if the residents, the company and the city can’t come up with a compromise regarding the facility, O’Donnell will make his own recommendation to the commission.

It’s refreshing to hear someone taking action in this situation. At least there’s someone else that knows a change needs to be made. For Sun Valley’s sake, hopefully that change comes sooner than later.

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