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xi Introduction: A Historical Summary of Garbage The garbage business is what most people historically assume to be the lowest rung on the social ladder of life. Few of the socalled educated, elite, and blue collar—let alone white collar— workers would ever have any desire to be associated with garbage. Despite that longstanding attitude, garbage is truly the com­ mon dominator of all people in the world. Whether white, black, brown, rich, poor, Communist, or capitalist, we all gene­ rate garbage. Until recent times, few people openly acknowledged that fact. Historically , few people have admitted that they produce garbage—and, worse yet—that they pay to get rid of it. In San Francisco, where this saga takes place, filling the San Francisco Bay with anything—especially garbage—resulted in a huge outcry and controversy. Somehow, me and the company I managed were the villains, hell-bent on the ultimate destruction of the bay, while others were reclaiming tidelands 500 acres at a time with no outcry. San Francisco, since before the turn of the twentieth century, has never missed regularly scheduled garbage collection services, except on April 18, 1906, the day of the Great Earthquake and resulting fire. Other than that one day, garbage collection has continued uninterrupted . I know that the primary reason for such continuous service is that there has always been someplace to dispose of the garbage collected by the scavengers. That place was once San Francisco Bay, unfortunately the dumping ground shared by every community surrounding it. Prior to this, as well as when the earthquake and fire hit San Francisco in 1906, the city fathers realized that dumping garbage in the bay and within the city limits could potentially be a serious health hazard to the people of San Francisco. To minimize that potential disaster, the city concluded that all garbage should be transported out of the city, and it contracted with Southern Pacific Railroad to have it receive the garbage from xii Introduction: A Historical Summary of Garbage the horse-and-wagon scavengers and transport it to a site located at 16th and 3rd Streets in San Francisco. The garbage would then be dumped into gondola cars—open-topped carts similar to those that miners used for coal transport—and hauled some five miles south on Southern Pacific’s mainline, which paralleled the bay. Once the garbage passed over the San Francisco/San Mateo county line, it somehow lost its health hazard. In fact, at the turn of the twentieth century, filling the bay with anything—including garbage—was acceptable and considered to be a form of “reclamation ” for those “stinking mudflats.” This, of course, was long before we knew or heard the terms ecol­ ogy, environment, environmentalist, preservation, reuse, re­ cy­­ cle, and environmental impact reports. As years passed, it seemed that all people, reluctantly, began to admit that they were the ones creating the garbage that was threatening the environment. I recall a presentation at an environmental hearing in the 1970s where new environmentalists suggested that something had to be done immediately with San Francisco garbage. Since these people were demanding immediate solutions, I responded with a simple but logical question: “When did garbage begin?” While the audience was pondering the question, I answered it myself: Read the Scriptures. Refer to when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and ate the proverbial apple. Didn’t God create man­ kind, among others, affecting the world we know today? But what the Scriptures failed to mention was what Adam and Eve did with the apple core. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is when garbage began and realistically, how can anyone expect to solve a problem that has been with us since man first walked on the earth—a problem that we have just admitted that we ourselves create? That response brought some reality to the newly created environmental movement. Environmental issues were now coming to the attention of the general public, as well as to people and businesses on the higher rungs of the social ladder. They had never envisioned themselves being associated with garbage, but now they realized that it was in fact a multibillion-dollar industry, with xiii Introduction: A Historical Summary of Garbage trucks, facilities, property, landfills, databases, and so much more, offering great opportunities. All of a sudden, the so-called elite, who would never have been associated with garbage in the past, acknowledged the potential of the garbage business. While they realized that no one could...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780874175592
Related ISBN
9781943859399
MARC Record
OCLC
1001968451
Pages
244
Launched on MUSE
2017-09-27
Language
English
Open Access
No
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