It has been 20 years since the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 in America. The attack killed 2996 people and caused US$ 40 billion in damage. Two World Trade Organization (WTC) skyscrapers located in New York City were completely destroyed in the attack. This accident was so terrible that even a technologically advanced country like America had to face a lot of difficulties to rescue the people trapped in the debris. Steel extracted from its debris was also brought to India.
Several days later, 21 people were pulled alive from the rubble
After the building collapsed, its debris was taken to a landfill site called Fresh Kills. The bodies were scrutinized in the rubble for several days. But during this time many people became victims of various diseases after coming in the grip of poisonous substances released from it. After the collapse of the building, a team of volunteers, fire brigade, police and sniffer dogs pulled out 21 survivors from the rubble on the first day, but after that no one was found alive. Apart from this, 21,900 pieces of dead bodies scattered in the rubble were collected.
Most expensive forensic investigation site in history
The landfill site soon became the site of the most expensive forensic investigation in American history. Here the DNA identification and partial profiles of damaged bones were statistically analyzed. However, analysts failed to systematically identify and separate the human remains from the debris. Fresh Kills’ landfill site became a burial ground for unidentified bodies. The troubles created by this debris got out of control. The poisonous gases emanating from it became harmful to the people working there.
Many of the rescue workers had died of disease
During this time many people who got sick from exposure to the contaminants lost their lives, including construction workers, doctors and others. The gases and contaminants from the debris increased the risk of kidney, heart, liver diseases and breast cancer, which people suffered for many years.
Victims’ pain, competition to make profit
During the next decade, workers who suffered the brunt claimed compensation. Also filed a lawsuit against the New York City administration for not providing adequate safety equipment at Ground Zero (the scene of the incident). After this the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was passed. Under this act, a law was made to provide them health care facilities.
The building’s steel was bought by a Chinese company
While this landfill site was considered hazardous to health, on the other hand, the process of making profits by selling the steel from the ruins of the demolished building in the junk markets of China and India also continued. A scrap processor purchased steel from the rubble under a contract with the New York City Department of Sanitation. Another company, Shanghai Baosteel Group, purchased an additional 50,000 tonnes of large structural steel auctioned by NYC for US$120 a tonne.
Steel of WTC building was also sent to India
The steel recovered from the wreckage was taken to India six months after the incident. This led to the construction of various buildings in many cities of India. These include construction of a college, a car repairing depot and business centre. In order to reopen the New York Stock Exchange as quickly as possible, the Department of Design and Construction contracted five construction companies to clear the wreckage of the WTC.
The rubble was disposed of in a hurry
The families of the victims objected that the authorities were negligent in extricating the bodies. They argued that the hasty removal of organic and non-organic waste from the rubble inexplicably buried the remaining debris. The Fresh Kills’ landfill site was closed in early 2001, but reopened after the September 11 attacks.
Monument built in this place in 2011
It is said that around 1,600 people were affected by this site at that time. Around 1.6 lakh million tonnes of debris was brought here after the attack. Thousands of human remains were retrieved from this tomb, but only 300 people could be identified. A memorial was built here in the year 2011. Building debris was buried in 40 acres of landfill site. In this way, after the attack, this debris, which caused trouble for the American people, was destroyed forever.
[Attribution to NBT]