Wedgewood: Human life worth more than money made from human garbage

Josh Hart

Staff Writer

The citizens of Wedgewood pulled off an upset victory against corporate greed early this month, successfully persuading the county to shut down the Rolling Hills C&D (Construction and Demolition) Landfill. You see, the citizens of Wedgewood don’t exactly enjoy the proximity to the landfill. It’s filled their neighborhood with dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide, poisoned their groundwater and dramatically lowered the value of their property.

The Pensacola News Journal covered the event in significant detail. Their first story, written by Thomas St. Myer, clearly takes the side of the victims, the citizens of Wedgewood. Their second story, also written by Myer, examines the economic impact of the closing of the landfill, offering obvious sympathy for demolition companies that have been inconvenienced.

No disrespect to Myer, and I actually do appreciate his attempts to be impartial, but I simply don’t care about the economic impact of ending an instance of economic oppression. I only care about ending the economic oppression.

And that’s exactly what the situation in Wedgewood is — economic oppression.

The neighborhood of Wedgewood existed before the Rolling Hills C&D Landfill existed and will exist after the landfill is gone. It has encroached upon Wedgewood, and, by exposing the residents to dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide, has increased the incidences of headache, dizziness, upset stomach, and lung infection.

Living near a landfill also might increase the risk of low birth weight, birth defects and certain types of cancers.

As previously mentioned, the placement of the landfill has also lowered the property values in Wedgewood, and, in an already limp housing market, this doesn’t bode well for anyone trying to leave Wedgewood.

“I feel trapped. Very trapped,” Mina Sanchez, Wedgewood resident, said. “I just can’t sell this place. I think all the fumes are giving me sleep apnea.”

So, forgive me if I’m not interested in the economic woes of the purveyors of a system that worked to keep the citizens of Wedgewood trapped in a state of perpetual fear and unrest. The demolition companies involved should humbly acquiesce in dumping their material somewhere else out of respect for those affected in Wedgewood. They were given a voice in the Pensacola News Journal, but it’s not a voice we necessarily should bother paying attention to.