CHICAGO – Southeast Side residents are trying to block General Iron from moving into their neighborhood after claiming the recycling plant is a “serial polluter.”
General Iron needs final approval from the Chicago Department of Health before relocating. But activists said if it’s not right for Lincoln Park residents, it shouldn’t be okay in their neighborhood.
Around 100 people gathered in Logan Square Saturday near the mayor’s house. It was a lively atmosphere, but the message was emotional.
“The South Side truth is we’re a dumping ground,” a resident said. “We’re being dumped on, we’re the garbage can of the city.”
Activists are demanding Mayor Lightfoot block the permits needed to move General Iron to the Southeast Side.
The scrap metal recycling plant reportedly has a long history of pollution problems.
“I find myself at a loss for understanding why during a pandemic, the City of Chicago would want to force a dirty company, that they know is very dirty, into another community, and particularly in our community,” said South Deering resident Marie Collins.
The plant is currently located in Lincoln Park. Residents there were successful in forcing the facility out of their neighborhood after an explosion caused it to close.
Now, General Iron is looking to move to the Southeast Side.
“When it’s poisoning the lungs and heart and minds of North Side residents,” said Ald. Daniela La Spata. “We push it to Black and Brown communities.”
The proposed site is next to a residential area near schools, parks and the Calumet River. Residents said pollution is already threatening their lives and General Iron will only make it worse.