A new oil recycling center opened in the Gulf of Mexico last week, but residents of the Gulf Coast city of Houston say they can’t even use it because it’s too close to their homes.
The new facility, which opened in Houston on Thursday, has been set up near the BP gas station and is owned by a local oil recycling company.
Residents in Houston, which has one of the nation’s highest oil spills rates, say they are angry that BP has taken over a community that has been collecting oil from the Gulf since the 1970s.
“I just don’t know what else to do,” said resident Jenene Bunch, who said she works in the city’s financial district and has used the facility for decades.
“There’s nothing else that we can do with it.”
She said she recently learned that the oil industry is using the center as a dumping ground for old tires and used car parts, which have no recycling capacity.
“The recycling is being dumped in a landfill that is right in front of my house,” Bunch said.
“I’m worried that it’s going to contaminate the area.”
Bunch said that she’s also concerned about the number of people who are unable to get to the recycling center, because it is near her home.
“We don’t even have access to it,” she said.
“They just take tires out of it and dump them on the streets, which is really upsetting to me,” she added.
“There are hundreds of oil refineries in the area, and this is a major refinery in the whole Gulf,” said Jeffery Huggins, a spokesperson for the Texas State Oil Commission.
“This is a refinery that is close to our own area, so that means we are close to it.”BUNCH said that the recycling facility also has a big problem with pollution.
“It’s a huge facility, it’s a massive landfill, and the chemicals are just all over the place,” she explained.
“They’re also dumping them all in the street, and it’s very disturbing.”
The city of Texas is not the only Gulf Coast community that is concerned about pollution from the BP oil spill.
Last week, residents in New Orleans reported being bombarded with an unprecedented amount of garbage, which they say was being dumped by the BP refinery.
According to the Gulf Restoration Coalition, about 100,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf last week.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security are conducting a clean-up effort.