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    Life will change in Michigan beginning April 1, 2011 when the state's new burn ban on household waste takes effect. Citizens will no longer be able to burn household trash in their yards. Michigan is one of a few states and the only Great Lakes States currently permitting the burning of household trash. Currently some Michigan cities, especially those in heavily populated urban areas, already have ordinances against outdoor burning. The new ban will apply to the entire state. The ban will not include the burning of leaves, brush or lawn clippings, although composting would be a better alternative from an environmental viewpoint.

    Studies have proven the burning of household trash releases pollutants such as hydrogen cyanide, benzene, lead, mercury and carbon dioxide into the air. The smoke is a nuisance to neighbors of the trash burning citizens and the particulate material released in the smoke is harmful to those with respiratory issues, such as asthma.

    From now until April 1, the burning of household trash will be allowed in burn barrels. The barrels are problematic because they are often unattended while burning. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE), 30% of all wildfires are caused by burning debris resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage. The new law will not apply to recreational or campfires.

    The DNRE will be working to educate the public and elected officials about the new open burn ban, the dangers of trash burning and waste disposal options in their community. The burn ban will be enforced by local government and will result in less pollution, less smoke and odor created by the burning of garbage, and fewer wild fires. The hope is to create cleaner air resulting in better health for all.

    Sources:
    http://www.dailypress.net/page/content.detail/id/527362/Ban-on-burning-household-waste-begins-in-April.html?nav=5003

    http://www.mininggazette.com/page/content.detail/id/518005/No-more-burning-barrels.html?nav=5006

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Natalie Tononi

    Anonymous and Natalie Tononi serve as energy and environment policy correspondents for the Michigan Policy Network. Natalie is a first-year student in Lyman Briggs College at MSU.