If Not Cleanup, What?

28 Oct 1997 08:42:29

From: Willamette Riverkeeper <wrkeeper@teleport.com>

Hi, I think we activists have a public communications problem re: so-called
clean up of contaminatre sites. AS you all know, these sites are never
really cleaned up, but are either improved on or cemented over (capped) etc.
Which is not like wiping up spilled milk from a vinyl floor, that is cleaned up.

The public doesn't understand this key fact, in large part, because the
terminology tells them otherwise. As a result, I believe that we have less
ability to STOP environmental releases of toxic compounds.

I understand that making this distinction won't get your neighborhood
"cleaned up" any sooner, but it might help prevent future contamination.

So for anyone interested, what are the alternatives to "clean up" that are
more accurate, and aren't jargon --- such as remediation.


"the battle for the environment [is] the ultimate civil rights and human
rights contest,a struggle to maintain public control over publicly owned
resources against special interests that would monopolize, segregate, and
liquidate them for cash."
---- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

"We must be astute to see that preservation is far easier than correction,
perceptive enough to realize that in the Willamette River we still have more
to preserve than to correct, and bold enough to act accordingly."
--- Oregon Governor Tom McCall, 1967

"Although attention has been given to land use planning in the basin and, in
some cases, to stream-bank reclamation, the Willamette River today is in an
unnatural condition that requires constant management, and no holistic
effort has been made to recreate the river's natural antecedent biological
or ecological conditions." --- National Research Council, 1992

Willamette Riverkeeper
P.O. Box 11606
Portland, OR 97211-0606