Is this really a debate to be having after being hit by two Category 5 hurricanes within 12 days? We are in the very early phase of recovering that could last 3 to 5 years! I believe our valuable time, money and resources should be spent wisely. One of the phases of the recovery is becoming more and more controversial as the administration takes a position that conflicts with environmentalists and advocates from all walks of life. The burning of debris caused by the hurricanes. More in particular the woody mass.
Remember this: “matter is never lost, its only transferred from one state to another.” Woody mass is being considered for some percentage of burning. I am hearing between 35 and 65%. We as a community must be concerned when it comes to large scale industrial burning sanctioned by the government. The following section addresses the most important fact to understand about this issue, particulate matter. The excerpt comes from the United States Environmental Protection Agency Web Archive January 19, 2017:
Health and Environmental Effects of Particulate Matter (PM)
The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometer in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream.
Exposure to such particles can affect both your lungs and your heart. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including: premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing. People with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure.
I move the question. Would you prefer a mound of wood chips or a pile of ash in your backyard?
Clarence Payne, St. Thomas resident