Communicating about Local Chemical Hazards
Every time I drive down Route 107 toward Boston, I pass a site where General Electric manufactures aircraft engines.
This factory has been open since before World War II. A local business directory estimates that it employs 5,500 people. A Boston Globe story reports a lower number and comments that the company sought state aid recently to prevent layoffs.
What’s wrong with this industrial picture?
Local residents who haven’t taken environmental journalism classes may not know that the Environmental Protection Agency lists this as a high-priority hazardous waste site. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection database says there are 46 different contaminated locations at this address. Oil is the main culprit, but there are other hazardous materials too.
As an environmental communicator, I’m concerned that Lynn residents may not be aware of the websites above. Those jobs may benefit the community if the company hires locally, but their cost has been significant. Without transparency, problems like this may remain invisible.
Kat Friedrich has a graduate degree from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Half of her coursework was in journalism. She writes and produces online content for three nonprofit organizations. She also uses Twitter regularly and blogs at Science Is Everyone’s Story. She has written about environmental issues for newspapers, magazines and other publications.
Sustainable Cities Collective