Much of Chicago is shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a North Side company with a long history of pollution problems is still shredding flattened cars, twisted rebar and used appliances every day.
Neighbors are livid.
They have been complaining for years about metallic odors from General Iron Industries, a scrap yard sandwiched between the densely populated Bucktown and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. With Chicagoans under orders to stay home until at least April 7, many are worried their exposure to air pollution could make people more susceptible to a dangerous coronavirus that attacks the lungs and upper-respiratory tract.
“This operation is putting those most vulnerable in our community in jeopardy,” said Lara Compton, a Lincoln Park resident and organizer of a community group called Clean The North Branch, which began encouraging neighbors last week to email complaints to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers.