The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

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Environmental Justice: The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch


Environmental Justice: The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch Structured Controversy

Netanya Roden CORE 1000

Environmental Justice: The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch


Trash can be observed congregating on the sides of roadways. This trash includes plastic bottles, papers, and cans. The trash seen along the sides of the road is even more pronounced when it is observed after a long winter’s thaw. Just like the sides of the road become filled with trash, so does the ocean. This trash is observable in a specific portion of the ocean known as the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch. The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch is one of many different types of Environmental Discrimination as it affects sea life, wildlife, and humans, thanks to Environmental Justice new laws are being put in place to increase and promote the use of reusing products and recycling. Environmental Justice is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (2012) as being “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (p. 1). The main purpose of Environmental Justice is to seek to solve the issue of Environmental Discrimination. Environmental Discrimination or Environmental Racism refers to a situation in which industrial operations, environmental policymaking, and the enforcement (or lack of enforcement) of environmental laws unfairly impact a particular race of people, either intentionally or unintentionally (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012, p.1). Historically many occurrences of Environmental Justice have been at waste disposal, manufacturing and energy production sites in low income communities. Environmental justice began in the early 1980’s. It originally emerged as a concept in the United States, fueled by a mounting feeling of unworthiness within African-American, Hispanic and Indigenous communities that were subject to hazardous and polluting industries located predominantly in their neighborhoods. These neighborhoods were usually were a part of the

Environmental Justice: The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch


lower or working classes in America. The results of the industries pollution took effect on the neighborhoods causing illness and suffering on the people. It made for an unsafe environment to live in (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012, p. 1). The first official case reported on Environmental Justice was in 1982 in Warren County, North Carolina. The county was selected by the state to host a hazardous waste landfill containing thirty thousand cubic yards of contaminated soil. This was a problem because in the township of Warren County sixty-nine percent of the population is non-white and twenty percent of the residents have incomes below the poverty level. Making Warren County a prime candidate for Environmental Discrimination. The people of warren county were able to make a case with the help of two published studies, one by the government and the other by the United Church of Christ’s Commission for Racial Justice because the both provided empirical support for the claims of Environmental racism. More help and support for the disproportionate burden of toxic waste on minority communities came from Robert D. Bullard’s book Dumping in Dixie (1990). Bullard became one of the main advocates for environmental justice and has been there since the beginning of it all. (Middendorf, 2011, p. 1) He is often described as the father of Environmental Justice and he continues to do work in the field of Environmental Justice while also being the Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. He is the author of seventeen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial...