By Katharine Schwab/Special to The Seattle Times
Macklemore added another cause to his list with his participation in the River For All campaign, which calls on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local government officials to provide an adequate cleanup plan for the toxically polluted Duwamish River.
“This is our city’s only river, and I want to do my part to make sure that it’s safe to reside here,” Macklemore said in a statement on the campaign’s website, which features personal testimonials from Seattleites from a diverse group of communities. “I stand in solidarity with community leaders and families who have organized for years to right this injustice.”
The rap star will also appear on a billboard on Highway 99 South where the highway approaches the Duwamish.
The Duwamish is one of the most toxic waste sites in the nation. At present, the EPA’s cleanup plan does not include the removal of pollution, instead opting for a method called natural recovery which measures mud on the river bottom to see if contaminated material is covered by cleaner deposits.
It’s not a permanent solution for James Rasmussen, coordinator of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coaltion, EPA’s Community Advisory Group for the site, who said the plan “that’s simply not good enough.”
“These communities deserve our full protection — and that means removing more of the toxic waste,” he said. “We need a cleanup that we know will work, and that will last.” The group’s recommendations to the EPA include removing more toxic waste, laying a protective layer over the contaminated material on the river bottom to kickstart recovery, and reducing polluting sources such as industrial waste and sewage.
The affected fishermen include Native Americans and many low-income, immigrant and refugee families from the area.
“We ought to treasure it, like New York treasures the Hudson,” says Denis Hayes, president of the Bullitt Foundation and founder of Earth Day, on the River For All website. “And we need to restore it to health.”
For more information, visit http://www.riverforall.org/ or look for #riverforall on Twitter