Be sure to attend the Washtenaw County Solid Waste Planning Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 at 827 N. Zeeb Road in Ann Arbor.
This committee will decide whether to include a new or expanded landfill in Salem Twp. in the Washtenaw County solid waste plan update.
The committee has confirmed they will have a draft plan prepared following the March 8 meeting.
Our strategy for the Feb. 8 meeting is to force the committee to look into the faces of the children who are being hurt by the existing landfill and who will be hurt by a new landfill.
We want to pack the room with children of all ages. We want children and their parents to speak but they don’t have to. Ideally, the younger children will color pictures of the dump and write, in their words, how it makes them feel when they can’t play outside or walk their dog. Older kids can write papers or short speeches detailing how the dump impacts their lives and how it adds stress to their family. We can make copies and distribute them to the committee.
Wear red to show solidarity.
Ask your children for ideas – they will likely think of something brilliant we haven’t considered yet. Every person at the meeting is granted 3 minutes to present to the committee. They let us go longer when we need to. You can use this 3 minutes any way you want. We have presented PowerPoints, we have shared maps, we have read comments from our petition, we have read violation notices, we have read resolutions. Do something innovative or don’t do anything at all. Except go. We need you.
It is a logistical challenge to bring your children to a public meeting, especially one in Ann Arbor, but it will be worth it. Arrive at 5:30, speak at the beginning and leave if and when you need to. This is an issue that will affect literally generations of area children and families. What if this community had done what we’re doing now in 2009? The massive vertical expansion that has made Arbor Hills Landfill one of the largest in the Great Lakes region never would have been approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the landfill would be nearing its closure date.
We can’t blame Washtenaw County and the waste management companies for not having a conscience, for polluting and hurting us, if we’re not willing to stand up and fight for our habitat, for the air we breathe.