Environmental justice: Identify potential health effects that might stem from this issue and present any suggestions you have to remedy the…
Choose one of these examples below and discuss why this is an environmental justice issue. Identify potential health effects that might stem from this issue and present any suggestions you have to remedy the situation.
I will like to focus on Emelle, Alabama landfill.
1. Emelle, Alabama, is home to the biggest landfill for hazardous waste in the United States. Emelle is also a poor community that is predominantly African American. Waste for this landfill comes from 45 states nationally as well as several other countries.
2. In a neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona, is a large industrial toxic waste site. This neighborhood has a predominantly Hispanic community. As a result of the toxic waste site, toxic chemicals pollute the air and water.
3. Farm workers, mainly migrant laborers, work with crops that are treated with toxic pesticides without adequate personal protective equipment.
(Modified from: Weintraub, 1994. Fighting Environmental Racism: An Annotated Bibliography.)
Environmental Justice: The Case Of Emelle, Alabama Landfill
Chemical Waste Management purchased a landfill permit of a 300-acre piece of land which later expanded to 2700 acres that sit in Emelle village. The village is the most impoverished region in the US, and one-third of residents are below the poverty line (Bailey & Faupel, 2019). The demographics are 70% African Americans, 29% White, and 15 Asian or pacific islanders. African Americans make up about 90% of the people living near the landfill. The company has dumped millions of tons of hazardous waste from across the United States and other countries.
About 40% of the toxic materials and waste produced throughout the country between 1984 and 1987 ended up in the Emelle landfill. According to Chakraborty et al. (2016), environmental problems are increasing as associated social inequalities intensify. Considering that the area is predominantly Black, with most of them living below the poverty level and have insignificant influence in economic and environmental decisions, the situation can be considered environmental racism. The residents, the majority being Black people, experience disproportionate environmental burdens associated with social, economic, and racial inequalities.
The extensive landfill sits directly on the Eutaw Aquifer that serves a large part of Alabama’s clean water. The company dumps radioactive wastes, trash from energy plants, and other toxic waste materials that pose serious health risks to the residents. People were living closer to the landfill experience health problems and reduced life satisfaction (Njoku et al., 2019). The landfill affects air and water quality, leading to illnesses like flu, body weakness, and eye irritation. People near the landfill are in constant fear of their health, especially from the ground and surface water leachate into the aquifer.
The pollutants are risky, and people need to come together and devise a sustainable management plan for the landfill. Many residents consider the landfill of economic importance as it offers jobs to the locals. Unfortunately, activists and grassroots groups such as Alabamians for a Clean Environment (ACE) failed to force the landfill’s closure. Strategies such as federal tax impositions and controlling the waste amount dumped annually in the landfill can be more effective (Abrams, 1992).
State tax and numerous federal regulations such as increasing per-ton-fee can help reduce the amount of waste produced and dumped in the country. Recycling is also a refreshing approach to turning reusable wastes into useful products. These regulations are more sustainable since they support job creation while controlling waste disposal in the landfill.
Abrams, R. H. (1992). Charging a Higher Fee for Disposal of Out-of-State Hazardous Waste: Will the Dormant Commerce Clause Become Dormant?.
Bailey, C., & Faupel, C. E. (2019). Environmentalism and civil rights in Sumter County, Alabama (pp. 140-152). Routledge.
Chakraborty, J., Collins, T. W., & Grineski, S. E. (2016). Environmental justice research: contemporary issues and emerging topics.
Njoku, P. O., Edokpayi, J. N., & Odiyo, J. O. (2019). Health and environmental risks of residents living close to a landfill: A case study of Thohoyandou Landfill, Limpopo Province, South Africa. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(12), 2125.
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