News: New incinerators limit use of burn pits
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
KIRKUK, Iraq -- Soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, “Ready First” 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas, are doing their part in cleaning up the air at Forward Operating Base Warrior, Kirkuk, Iraq by opening of three incinerators and a recycling center which will limit the use of burn pits.
Task Force Marne Deputy Commanding General Maneuver, Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue, II, Col. Patricia Sellers, commander of 1-1 Special Troops Battalion, Ready First, civilian and local contractors and Ready First Soldiers involved in the project marked the opening of the center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Aug. 4.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony the senior-leadership received a tour of the area.
“The incinerators burn six tons of trash per day and will reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air around Kirkuk,” said Capt. Elizabeth Ortiz, the Ready First brigade environmental science engineer officer, during the tour.
Ortiz also said reducing the amount of pollution is was made her push for the project to be completed quickly.
“We finished quickly because it was the right thing to do to,” she said.
She continued by saying this project protect the people of Kirkuk and the Soldiers on the FOB (Warrior) from becoming sick from the burn pits, that release dangerous smoke into the air.
Also during the tour of the incinerator area Donahue and Sellers were able to see the area where the recycling center is soon to be.
John Sasso, a civilian contractor overseeing the project said the recycling center, set to open in September, will reduce pollution even more.
“By recycling wood, aluminum, cardboard and plastic the amount of waste that reaches the incinerators is greatly reduced,” he said.
Sasso added the recycled materials will also stimulate the local economy.
“Local contractors and companies who purchase the recycled materials can then make new products from the materials,” he said.
Ortiz added their ultimate goal with the two projects is to eliminate the use of burn pits in Kirkuk.
At the end of the tour and ceremony Donahue thanked the contractors and Soldiers for all of their hard-work.
“I am very impressed by the project,” he said. “Thank you for all that each of you did.”