Downstream Stories

United States, Detroit, Michigan


Detroit, Michigan, United States

The community near the closed incinerator still grapples with the environmental and health consequences that it has left behind.

When the incinerator in Detroit was built, it was the largest in the world. It had the capacity to burn 4,000 tons of trash every day, with three large furnaces. With two furnaces operating on average, it burnt 2,500 tons a day. The city’s waste would be shred, pulverized then burt. 

The negative effects on the health of the community were widely apparent. Residents developed chronic asthma and other respiratory ailments. People would use the neighboring area around the incinerator as a dumping ground for plastic and toxic waste. 

Today the incinerator in Detroit is closed, and residents are still organizing to clean up the polluted environment that it has left behind.

Downstream Community Stories

A resident explains how the neighborhood changed when the incinerator became active, and the negative impacts it had on people’s health and on local businesses. Many families simply left.

A resident speaks to personal negative health impacts due to the incinerator, that would go away when leaving town.

Residents drive past the closed down incinerator.

A resident explains the conservation project put in place to clean up the area, and get rid of the waste left by people who dumped their plastic and toxic waste in the area.

A resident plants trees to create an ecological buffer between homes and the incinerator. The initiative allows residents to deal with ecological grief, purify the air for the neighborhood and remediate soil.

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Shot on location with the help of Breathe Free Detroit.

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