Terra Verde

Burning Toxic Chemicals ≠ Clean-Up

File photo of a open-air burn pit in Kansas.
File photo of a open-air burn pit in Kansas. Photo by FEMA/Crystal Payton.

After a train derailed near East Palestine, Ohio and spilled hundreds of thousands of pounds of hazardous chemicals recently, part of the “cleanup” response was to burn the chemicals that spilled — which further emits toxins into the air, soil, and water. Communities across the country are impacted by the environmental and health impacts caused by open burning, including in rural Appalachia, where a US Army Ammunition Plant practices open burning to dispose of military stockpiles and the toxic waste byproducts of manufacturing military explosives.

Terra Verde host Fiona McLeod discusses why burning toxic chemicals as a method of waste disposal is so harmful with Alyssa Carpenter and Madison Hill, community organizers who are bringing awareness to the dangers of open burning in Appalachia and advocating for safer alternatives to toxic waste disposal to protect communities and the environment across the country.