Thursday, May 23, 2024

Ed Gray, NDG Senior Columnist: Environmental Justice and BlueStar Recycling

Marsha Jackson is living next to Shingle Mountain in Dallas. (Image: Ed Gray / NDG)

Straight Talk with Ed Gray

I recently visited my friend Marsha Jackson regarding an environmental concern causing her great distress and health issues. Ms. Jackson is living next door to a hazardous dumping ground. This is not surprising as Dallas has had a long history of applying discriminatory zoning methods in disposing of hazardous materials.

The McCommas Landfill operated by the City of Dallas is a stone’s throw away from her home. The City of Dallas operates the largest landfill in the state of Texas, and the fifteenth largest landfill in the United States. Now its never a good thing to live close to a landfill, just not a good way to spend your morning while sipping coffee.

In addition to living within a walk to the landfill, she now lives next door to Shingle Mountain. Shingle Mountain sounds exotic. It conjures up images with perhaps a duck-filled lake surrounded by daffodils. However, it is far from that, it is a mountain of crushed shingle debris from Dallas rooftops. The mountain is next to a stagnant reservoir of smelly water.

This mountain has grown with a rapid pace, that has defied logic and gravity. What goes up continues to rise. With each foot of shingle debris, the debris emits compounds of poisons that contaminate the air, contaminates the water source and is causing the Jackson family health concerns.

During my interview with Ms. Jackson, I noticed her physical discomfort. Ms. Jackson coughed and complained of her shortness of breath. While complaining about her physical ailments, she also expressed the lack of civic concern from her elected officials.

The construction of Shingle Mountain continues today, despite Ms. Jackson’s calls of help. The black and brown communities of Dallas have consistently waited on their pleas for help, only to be answered. The answer to Marsha Jackson is that she needs a mask to cover her face from poisonous emissions. Beware of your neighbors next door, if they are like Blue Star Recycling. We must champion environmental justice for all. We must make sure that when cities zone, we zone for good business and good health.

I am Ed Gray and this is Straight Talk.

Ed Gray is a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University. He is the host of The Commish Radio Show airing Saturdays 3-5 p.m. on, can be reached at NDG was awarded NNPA’s 2018 Robert S. Abbott Best Editorial for Gray’s “Confederate Statues: The White Man’s Burden” column.


  1. […] Earlier this month NDG’s Senior Columnist, Ed Gray said that while Shingle Mountain might lead… but this is far cry from that idyllic scene. Instead, Shingle Mountain is a pile of crushed roof shingles being dumped next door to the home of Ms. Marsha Jackson, making her the victim of one of the most blatant cases of environmental racism in the city. […]


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