Dallas Dumping Ground Continues To Plague Locals Despite Cleanup Efforts

Local bloggers are buzzing about the Dallas phenomenon known as the "Shingle Mountain Cleanup Project".

‘Shingle Mountain’ is not a real mountain. Rather, it is a moniker bestowed upon a pile of discarded shingles that reaches 60 feet into the air and dominates the land around it. While this mountain of shingles is more aptly described as a toxic waste dump that presents an immediate and ongoing threat to the environment, the real issue is its proximity to neighborhoods in south Dallas. It presents a health hazard that local residents have been protesting for more than two years, which is startling to many given that this dump is also quite illegal. However, as many residents in the area will attest, pleas for assistance in getting the dump removed largely went unanswered until early 2020.

“Earlier in the year, the cleanup of Shingle Mountain found off Highway 310 and close to McCommas landfill was announced,” says a post in the local section of a Dallas law firm, “Some citizens feel that cleanup has not been working fast enough and were going to plan some sort of protest before the meeting was rudely interrupted according to an article by the Dallas Observer published on November 13th.”

As reported by the Washington Post (which is quoted in the article), local residents believe their health has taken a direct hit as a result of this dump’s existence. The area was initially used as a dumping zone for such debris by the owners, and city officials apparently failed to notice it accumulating in height among the bustle of Dallas’ other construction. Each time more debris was dumped, great clouds of particulate matter may have been ejected into the air where it inevitably found itself breathed in by nearby homeowners. While dumping has ceased, however, wind and other forms of agitation may still be carrying these particles to unwary victims.

The Washington Post’s investigation appears to support this conclusion, given the testimony of local residents as well as studies carried out among the populace — which consists largely of Latino and African American members. The publication notes, “Recent studies have shown that minority residents in Dallas breathe more polluted air than White residents and have a significantly shorter life expectancy.”

It adds, “That finding fits with a reality nationwide reflected in other studies. Black and Latino residents in the United States are far more likely than White people to live near landfills, power plants, concrete mixing facilities and other sources of emissions that foul the air,” concluding that, “they are far more likely than White people to die from exposure to pollution.”

As the firm cited observes, however, the mere announcement that a cleanup project is underway may not be enough. While bureaucracy, logistics and other challenges that normally crop up in government will likely mean the project will take some time to complete, the only way to ensure that city officials continue to make the cleanup of Shingle Mountain a priority is to maintain a steady level of public pressure.

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