By Haridas K. Varma
June 14, 2020
Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY, page A13.
I read two articles published on May 31 written by Paul Connett and John Ruspantini detailing their opposition to the proposed installation of a battery incinerator plant in Endicott, and I felt compelled to respond at this time, despite more significant events engulfing the country like the devastating corona pandemic, with resultant health and economic crisis, and the socioracial crisis brought on by the depraved actions of Minneapolis police officers that resulted in the tragic death of an unarmed, already handcuffed black man.
The former, who apparently is a retired chemistry professor with special interest in incineration, gave us a tutorial on complex chemical interactions, and the latter, an individual who was convinced of professor Stanley Wittingham’s ignorance in the field of toxicology and environmental science, didn’t provide any details of his academic qualifications that will make him an authority on matters of environment and toxicology.
I am sure there are hundreds of incinerators of this type around the world, and it will help the opposition group’s position if they can gather and produce evidence of the damage done to the surrounding communities with the installation of these types of units.
These theoretical considerations and assumptions of various chemical reactions that could possibly happen, etc., just do not cut it; what happens in a lab doesn’t necessarily carry over to the real world . I can cite many examples (not necessarily in the world of chemistry) where what appeared to be a success in the controlled environment of a lab turned out to be utter failure when tested in the humanity.
I really admire the zeal and fervor that is displayed by the “protesters” against the installation of the incinerator in Endicott, and my hope is that they (at least those who believe in climate change as a result of human activities) show the same amount of passion fighting the anti-science president’s actions to repeal and roll back regulations that were put in place to protect the environment.
While the incinerator plant in Endicott may possibly harm hundreds, if left unchecked, global warming in 70 to 80 years will harm millions in the U.S. and billions worldwide with devastating hurricanes, wildfires, floods, drought, famine and though unknown, it may cause pestilence much worse than COVID- 19, resulting in total decimation.
Haridas K. Varma is an Apalachin resident.
• See Response from Paul Connett and John Ruspantini in the June 28, 2020, paper.