I was shocked to read this dreadful, movingly written story by William Rashbaum in yesterday’s Times. I hadn’t known there was a toxic site in the Bronx. I hadn’t known children had died because of it:
Kerri was 4 when she started having trouble walking. Justin was 5 when he got a nosebleed that would not stop. Danielle was 7 when her legs began to ache.
During the 1980s, the children all lived, played and swam in the shadow of the Pelham Bay landfill, a towering city dump in the Bronx on the shores of Eastchester Bay. For well over a decade, it was a vast environmental crime scene, where bribes to city workers opened the gates to an estimated 1.1 million gallons of illegally dumped toxic waste. By 1991, the three children were dead, taken by childhood leukemia a few years after their symptoms had appeared.
The case against the City has settled. But, as the Times headline says, it’s a “Bittersweet Deal in 22-Year Fight Over Toxic Site in Bronx.”
Why did it take this long? Read the article and learn what can happen when a group of people sue a municipality.
Here are the last several paragraphs:
The city’s denials notwithstanding, there is little question for Ms. Nonnon [the mother who created the parents’ coalition that sued the City] as to what caused her daughter’s death.
“I would sit in a meeting with the department of health — it was the same people all the time — and I said to them, and it was a legitimate question, I asked who had children,” she recalled. “And they raised their hands. And I asked how many of their children had friends that had leukemia.”
“And they said, ‘None.’ And I said, ‘There are multiple children in the Catholic school and the public school that have leukemia, and you don’t think there is anything wrong with that?’ ” she said of the area near the landfill.
“And they didn’t say anything.”
The lawyers for the plaintiffs are Jeff Korek and Mitchel Ashley.