So, I was out on my morning jog this morning when I passed by a local concrete foundry pumping out tons of toxic smoke. The smoke was so bad, I had to stop jogging because I was coughing so hard. I was coughing so hard, I nearly threw up!
The smell was pretty bad where I lived, a couple of miles away, too.
Vicky suggested I call the AQMD (the Air Quality Management District) to register a complaint, which I did. What I didn’t expect, though, was the lesson I received in just how powerful corporations are in relation to how much they can pollute.
Here’s what I found out.
In order for the AQMD to even speak with the foundry and ask them to please cut down on their smog, they need to have six different homes on the same block all register complaints within the same hour. Then, they have to remain at their home for an AQMD representative to come to their home and verify the smell. This AQMD could take as much as three hours to get there, by which time the wind could shift and the smell could move on.
Can you imagine how difficult that would be to pull off? Six residents from six different homes all have to call at about the same time. Then, they can’t leave their home. They have to wait there – not go to work – and hope everyone else stays put as well. They have to wait for hours, all in the hopes that the wind doesn’t shift!
And this won’t even get them definite action. The foundry could ignore the request. When I asked the AQMD rep what the requirements were for them to take definite action, such as a fine or a court order or anything, she just shook her head and said, “Well, let’s try to get this first. This is hard enough.”
Meanwhile, the foundry owners sit back and laugh at us little people. They’ve made us powerless.
And the sad truth is, so many of us defend our corporate overlords despite all that. And, in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing.