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WTC Debris Barges Under Fire

March 20, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Dozens of students, parents and teachers gathered Wednesday to protest World Trade Center debris-hauling barges moored near their school.

Protesters said they are concerned about dust and diesel fumes from the debris-hauling operation, which also include trucks and heavy equipment.

The city Office of Emergency Management wets down debris and covers trucks to reduce dust. And tests around the barges have not shown elevated contaminant levels, said office spokesman Frank McCarton.

McCarton said the barge was placed near the school because it was closest to the site, speeding the cleanup.

``We have no intentions of moving the barge,″ he said.

The school never wanted the barges in the first place but tolerated them in a time of emergency, said Marilena Christodoulou, president of the Stuyvesant High School Parents’ Association.

``But at this point now the emergency is gone,″ she said.

Christodoulou said the city can use other spots not close to where about 5,000 kids, some as young as 4, go to school.

Nathan Pinsley, a junior at the school, said the concerns are not just for the students’ physical health.

``It’s also psychological,″ he said. ``It’s a constant low thud of metal banging against metal. It’s actually reminiscent″ of the day of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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