The aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, New York on September 11, 2001, did not leave behind. Former member of the New York firefighting team and actor Steve Busceni, the main center of America’s economic glory, believes that pollution from building debris is still killing people. Three thousand people were killed in that attack. But, more people have lost their lives due to diseases spread due to the toxic debris of the building.
Buseni had reached the spot on the next day of the attack i.e. on 12 September. He was a member of Bucket Brigade, a team carrying debris. Debris was brought down in buckets from the upper floors of the building. Apart from this there were also body bags. Buseni explains, ‘A firefighter said after seeing the concrete dust with a body bag – this dust will probably kill us after twenty years. It didn’t even take twenty years. It was only during the removal of debris that news of new diseases started coming in.
Bridget Gormee has made a documentary film on this subject – Dust: The Lingering Legacy of 9/11. Bridget’s father, Billy, died of cancer in 2015. The film reports that the government and New York City officials are declaring that the air around the towers is safe. But, it has a deep layer of toxic chemicals carcinogens.
Experts say that putting wet cement on human skin causes skin burns. Exactly the same thing is happening here. ‘I was at the site less than a week, but realized something was wrong when I got home,’ says Buseni. I had to go to the doctor. Many firefighters suffered from shortness of breath. But, those whose main identity is that of the protector, they are hesitant to tell their troubles themselves.
Firefighters are still battling phlegm after 20 years
An organization called Friends of Firefighters provides free health advice to working and retired firefighters. A few days after the attack, the US Congress created a compensation fund for the victims. When the money started running out, a campaign had to be started for funding. Finally in 2019 the demand was fulfilled. The former fighters are still suffering from cough after 20 years. Many lives have been lost.
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