Examples Of Environmental Injustice

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Environmental injustice is a serious issue in America, and its effects are being brought to light by a large amount of scientific studies. Raquel Pinderhughes describes environmental injustice as “exposure to toxins which occurs through pesticides in food, heavy metals, synthetic chemicals, plastic residues, pesticides, and other chemical products in the water, and toxic chemicals in the air and soil” which has been shown to be more common in minority populations. In fact, the large amount of instances of disease caused by environmental injustice has caused the United States to lag behind significantly on issues of health compared to other developed countries, as found by Brulle. This problem should be an outrage to our society, and needs to …show more content…
Pollock explains “environmental inequity may be directly measured by the degree of difference in pollution exposure between social groups.” There are many recent examples of environmental injustice in our country. Pinderhughes explains a few, such as how in the Navajo Nation, children who are raised in uranium mining areas are developing cancer at 15 times faster than the national average; In Memphis, Tennessee, there are higher rates of cancer, chronic respiratory illness, and neurological disorders in non-whites; and in Lake Charles, Louisiana, people of color are experiencing eye irritation, nosebleeds, nausea, and cramps due to contaminated water and fumes blown in by wind from chemical plants. Many of these toxic facilities are placed in minority communities, possibly due to a number of different reasons. Pinderhughes explains that, in white communities, penalties for the development of hazardous waste sites are 500% higher than communities that are mostly comprised of minorities. Also, the government tends to take a longer time to address hazards which occur in minority communities, and accept solutions that are less stringent than would be in white communities – for example, choosing to contain hazardous areas as opposed to pursuing treatment, or permanently destroying the waste and toxins located there. The disproportionate number of hazardous waste sites in minority communities …show more content…
Techniques such as Not-In-My-Backyard styles, may actually make the problem worse by increasing it, as explained by Pollock, so a good amount of factors need to be considered when creating a solution. The solution that I propose sounds simple, but really may end up being a difficult challenge – end institutional racism. Ending institutional racism means forming large social movements that demand change. Pinderhughes states that improving the issue of environmental injustice is an “inherently political issue, directly linked to the political process,” which means that we need to demand political change in order to fix it. Many movements have been formed in the past, such as the Environmental Justice Movement, the Anti-Toxics Movement, and the People of Color Environmental Movement, Brulle explains. A change in governmental policy to address practices such as segregation of communities, transportation, energy and waste management needs to be demanded by new organizations. If a movement becomes large enough, it will gain enough power to change the tides of the governmental policy regarding environmental justice. We must band together to stop the threat of disease on minorities by toxic waste

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