Communities in Action

Malden, MA: Cleaning Up the Toxic Legacy of the Malden River:
Residents work to restore river access to community

In June, more than 60 residents from Malden, Medford and Everett turned out to show support for cleaning up the Malden River in Massachusetts. A century ago, the river was a thriving industrial center, with factories making bullets for American war efforts and other toxic industries, including chemical manufacturing. These industries used the river as a dumping ground, and today, empty lots line the riverbanks. This, combined with a lack of public access, means that the river has fallen out of the public conscience. So residents like Kathy Vandiver and Karen Buck have taken matters into their own hands. They formed Friends of the Malden River and are working to learn about the health impacts of contamination and restore river access for the community. Toxics Action Center community organizers helped them develop a plan to watchdog a cleanup of contamination left over from Allied Chemical, one of the most contaminated sites on the river. By engaging the public in monitoring, they will be able to push for the strongest cleanup possible.