2008…The Last Barbeque!

Incinerators emit varying levels of heavy metals such as vanadium, manganese, chromium, nickel, arsenic,mercury, lead and cadmium, which can be toxic at very minute levels – says Wikepedia!

So, what is an Incinerator? In the 1930’s until the most of the 1950’s…as the Southland Basin of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties expanded….the family incinerator dotted the So. Cal. landscape. Tiny plumes of black, gray, brown, green and white smoke would rise in the backyards of family, neighbors, businesses and cities. Some Incinerators were the Industrial Kiln types, like that one that James Bond dumped Ernst Starvo Blofeld into off the runner of a radio controlled helicopter! Don’t worry…they are still around – just in case ESB makes a comeback in the next JB episode!

Incinerators like the one Great Grandma had was this awful cement brick/slab concoction…with a screen and lid positioned on top. It seemed pretty big to a little kid…but probably wasn’t much more than 5 or 6 feet in height. One thing was certain…it was a dirty mess…all the time. The odors and ash and toxic flavors left in your mouth after dumping your trash into these vehicles was truly a dirty, messy and later found out to be….very unhealthful!

People would put virtually any thing you could think of in their incinerators…..old oil from their cars, plastic toys from Japan, Kotex, Baby Diapers, fabric rags and old towels, medical waste, paint, glue – you name it. What these odors and toxins were doing to your neighbors environment were probably pretty bad.

Kids used to play with the family incinerator and throw fireworks, gasoline or anything else they could find that would explode. We are talking about Paint Thinner, Ant Poison, Kerosine or Ammonia! There were some very serious accidents or rather stupid events which left many dead, serverly burned or disfigured for life. The 60’s brought a concerted effort to have Waste Disposal people curb side pick-up trash…on a weekly basis and in doing so…reduce smog and the various health and safety concerns.


In October of 1947 was the beginning of the AQMD. If we go back, it was reported that the smoke and haze was so bad one summer day in 1903…they thought it was a total eclipse of the sun. In 1959, as you would drive along the Santa Ana Freeway (5)…and into Los Angeles “into the bottleneck”…where the Santa Monica, the Gardena and the now Century Freeways all met…..you might have to pull to the side of one of those Freeways and stop because the Plating Company by those Freeways was belching green smoke that was burning your eyes so badly that you couldn’t see or drive. If you were lucky, the wind would change and you could then extracate yourself quickly from the vicinity. Sounds impossible doesn’t it?

Fast forward to 2006, 2007 and now 2008. New residences are being built without Fireplaces! That’s right….Fireplaces are being regulated out of existence. The toxic logs that you pile up and light up with your toxic fuel starter…are now being restricted. Sounds like the end times doesn’t it? Hearth and Home….what next are they going to outlaw; the family dog? The reality is that we are not taking very good care of our environment, our neighbors, or friends or our families when it comes to exposing them the toxic fumes! How many studies have been done to determine how many people that did not smoke one cigarette in their entire lives….got lung cancer from interior fireplace smoke or the family barbeque?

Are we over reacting? Perhaps…yet, when people could care less whether their kids, families, friends or neighbors get exposed to their backyard smoke…..then welcome to incinerator land! The throwback may have never left us….as we decided in our wisdom just not to pay any attention to the environmental concerns.

Closing the door on Incinerators; started assertively for residences in the 50’s – but to this day are still commercially allowed with “enclosed systems”…which means that the toxic fumes are supposedly filtered out before any venting. The truth of the matter is: Eventually, all the landfills in the world will need to be Incinerated…as they wind up polluting our water tables and they wind up venting and polluting our air. When will we laughingly; have to eventually send all our trash into outer space? How long can we allow the use of backyard barbeques to continue unabated. Perhaps, they will find a way to utilize trash for fuel and gasoline. Perhaps, the family barbeque can one day be hooked up to refill the family vehcile. Perhaps, paying an environmental tax for mitigation….will be a good start. Perhaps, letting people trade their barbeque pollution credits with other people that don’t have barbeques in their bad yards? Perhaps, basic common sense should tell all that the use of the family Fireplace or Barbeque should have some semblance of reasonable responsiblity attached to it?

In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day and enjoy the Last Great Barbeque Season – 2008!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk show...is the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.