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America's New War: Cleaning up the Destruction

Aired September 18, 2001 - 05:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Lower Manhattan, as you're about to see, is engulfed in 16 acres of rubble. The destruction is so wide spread that authorities speculate it could take as much as a year to clear this site. CNN's Bruce Burkhardt reports there's a lot more to cleaning up than just sifting through all of this rubble, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a job so big that no one really knows how long it will take. Some say six months, some say a year, some say more.

PAUL MORALES, SANITATION WORKER: It's 220 stories - that's a lot. We're going to be here for awhile.

BURKHARDT: Nearly 900 sanitation workers, 250 pieces of equipment, hauling away at least two billion pounds of steel and concrete, 14 acres of glass and all of the stuff - computers and carpeting, cabinets, doorknobs and desks most of it unrecognizable.

RUDY GIULIANI, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: There are 39,416 tons that we've now removed.

BURKHARDT: Truck after truck after truck - they roll up the West Side Highway to the 59th Street Marine Transfer station - a dock really where the trucks spill their cargo onto barges.

And it's not just rubble that they're dumping here - it is criminal evidence, which explains why this is as close as we can get to this facility. Police and FBI are keeping everybody away until they can separate the wheat from the chaff - the evidence from the debris.

Everything is accounted for. Each truckload is checked in by an FBI worker.

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: There may be evidence in the form of documents. It may be partially burned material but whatever it is whether it's big or small it may be very crucial to the case.

BURKHARDT: The evidence/rubble was shipped by barge down the Hudson River and across the harbor to Staten Island, home to the recently closed Freshkill's Landfill - a horrible name under the circumstances but "kills" is actually a Dutch word for stream.

And here the stream of rubble flows from the World Trade Towers old home to its new one where police and FBI, hidden from our cameras, sift through every pound of debris. Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

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