“The smell needs to go now!”

Latest in a series of posts on the environment

Asad Harrington is a Junior at Liberty High School. Asad presented this essay at the “Speak out!” Sustainability Forum, part of Touchstone Theatre’s Festival UnBound 2020, September 19. You can view Asad reading his work here at min. 42:25.

Health and Safety for the Sustainability of Bethlehem
and Its Surrounding Areas

Asad Harrington

The sustainability issue that I want to improve is the smell that comes from the water facility in Freemansburg. It’s unbearable, unnecessary, and destructive. People can’t even come outside to sit on their porches because the smell is so bad. I feel like that’s unfair for homeowners. It would be hard if they wanted to move and sell their house. It would be hard because of the smell. The smell needs to go now!

When I’m out walking, I love being outside except when I go into Freemansburg. Instead of smelling fresh air, I smell fresh crap! I don’t live there; but whenever I drive by, I smell the foul odor, and it just makes me want to vomit. It’s a huge cancer growing on our community, not just affecting the neighbors. Plaintiffs Robin and Dexter Baptiste, both homeowners in the Freemansburg area, filed lawsuits demanding a total of $5 million dollars. I have an uncle who lives in Freemansburg, but whenever I go to his house, I never smell anything. When I came across the article about the lawsuit, I was highly surprised. Those who can afford to live out from under the cloud, do, Those who can’t, can’t. People must be free to live where they can afford. I understand both sides, but I favor the people who have to live with the smell everyday, which is simply wrong.

Don Hallock, the district manager for Waste Connections, declined to comment on the lawsuit. He’s against it, of course, and doesn’t think any changes should be made. I demand that the water facility do something about the smell or move to where there are no people. The Authority is bringing in a lot of money, and money is the root of why they don’t want to move. They even plan to upgrade the facility, expanding it so more towns around the Lehigh Valley can send their stink there. They have to understand the frustration and annoyance of the people who live around the facility — who can blame them. I wouldn’t want to smell that horrible stench either. But with the new upgrades, I insist that the Authority improve the facility and get rid of the smell.

One thought on ““The smell needs to go now!”

  1. My family & I are here temporarily from Minnesota. I could discern a strange smell in the tap water the first day at our apartment. When we drove past the Freemansburg facility, the source became apparent—the smell is eerily too similar. I refuse to drink or cook with the water here. I hate that we have to bathe in it. The city says the water is safe, but I don’t believe it. I feel bad for people who cannot afford to buy bottled water here. No wonder the health care industry is booming. This place seems like a sacrifice zone. I’m surprised there isn’t a greater uproar over it. Maybe only those who didn’t grow up drinking it can tell. Keep pushing for the safety of YOUR air and water, because the powers that be certainly won’t.

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