SIX NATIONS – Amidst rumours, doubts and misunderstandings regarding John Kearns’ garbage disintegration unit at the Six Nations landfill, a Six Nations woman who has intimate knowledge of the both the unit and the process speaks out in defense of the technology.
“I’ve been working here since mid-February,” says system feeder Denise Webster, who was hired to work in the disintegrator full time, through Grand River Employment And Training. “I met John and the crew and became familiar with the machine, which I think is awesome.”
She has some advice for anyone who is not familiar with the revolutionary technology before they form an opinion about it.
“If somebody does not know what it is, they really should find out, because to me, I believe this community will benefit from it,” says Webster. “It is doing its job, which is to get rid of the trash from polluting the land and the water. We are not burying it anymore and instead we are disintegrating it. That’s just awesome. I think that the community should be more aware and know what the machine is before they start criticizing it.”
She has heard the concerns of some community members, but assures them that there is nothing to fear.
“The people need to know that this is for household garbage,” she says. “I know the machine would run perfectly if we are doing our job right. I know that for a fact because I run it.”
Webster says that the need right now is for the people to bring the garbage to the bins rather than back to the landfill, which Kearns agrees with.
“Several times over the past weeks, and even during this past week, the machine had to be cooled down because there was not enough garbage to keep it running,” says Kearns. “Once that happens it has to be fired up again, which creates a minimal amount of smoke, no more toxic than burning brush in your back yard or running an oil furnace.”
Webster explains that when the garbage is wet after a rain or when it is exhumed from the landfill, it takes longer to burn and may emit water vapor from the stack. This is why any exhumed garbage is blended with “new” garbage in the burner.
She told the Two Row Times that she had a friend tell her about how the machine is no good, but when she asked what the source of her information was, she said her momma told her, who heard it from someone else.
“As someone who works on this machine every day, I know first hand what is going on here,” says Webster. “There is nothing bad about it, unless we put something bad into it. If we are not doing our job, it will not do its job efficiently.”
Does she feel safe running this machine?
“I’m standing right up there next to this machine and I wouldn’t be putting my health in jeopardy for nobody. I’m no genius, but I’m not stupid either. If I felt unsafe in any way, I’d make sure somebody knew about it.”
Last week, she says, someone stopped by and asked why the machine wasn’t working.
“I said it is working,” she said laughing. “They seem to think that if there is no smoke coming from the stack, and they don’t see commotion and people running around that it isn’t working. But that is when it is working at its best.”