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Students march at Oakland medical waste facility

Bay City News
Wednesday May 30, 2001

OAKLAND – The debate over the last medical waste incinerator in California, the Integrated Environmental Systems plant in Oakland goes on, as high school students from a Catholic high school in Hayward march and rally at the site Tuesday afternoon. 

Students from the Moreau Catholic High School were joined by priests, environmentalists, community activists, parents and supporters at a march that began at the Fruitvale BART station and progressed up International Boulevard toward the incinerator, which is in Oakland's Fruitvale District.  

The group is still at the site this afternoon. 

The students are holding a prayer service to express their solidarity with all of the students who live near the site, who they claim are being exposed to toxins such as dioxin.  

Their purpose is to get IES management to stop incinerating at the site, and opt instead for safer technology. 

The East Oakland site has  

been the target of many  

similar marches. 

IES representatives say their facility does not emit the pollutants, and that it operates at levels that are above regulatory standards.  

They say that the facility also employs other disposal methods, but that state law requires certain items to be incinerated. 

Last month, IES official and community activists seemed to be on the verge of reaching a compromise, being worked out by Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, to reduce incineration at the plant. 

The negotiations stalled, however, and De La Fuente stepped away, saying he would only continue as mediator if both sides were willing to give some ground on their positions to reach an accord.