August 17, 2023
By Austin Fisher, Source NM
Massive, toxic fire comes as grassroots community groups push for historic air regulation
Richard Moore started getting phone calls from his neighbors in the South Valley on Aug. 6.
He followed the path of the smoke, and decided to go up to Mesa del Sol where the Atkore United Poly Systems fire was still burning.
Ten days after the plastic fire, there has still been no official report to residents on the health impacts of the smoke created by burning plastic.
“We have always been the last to be informed of what the situation is, and what we should be doing,” said Moore, co-founder of Los Jardines Institute, an educational and agricultural nonprofit in the South Valley. “This is how we define environmental racism.”
Moore says the plastic fire on Aug. 6 is “a prime example” of why the local air quality authority must pass a rule that would protect the health of not just communities in the South Valley, but the entire city of Albuquerque. …