A Cleaner Community

2064 Words Mar 31st, 2016 9 Pages
A Cleaner Community
Emelle, Alabama holds one of the largest commercial hazardous-waste landfills in America, yet African-Americans compose 90% of the town’s population. In Philadelphia, Mississippi, a Choctaw Native American reservation holds a 466-acre hazardous landfill (Wright 532). These statistics reveal the sensitive boundary between racial and social classes. Specific human factors have driven the need for change in environmental practices, such as growing human population, increased natural resource consumption, and the effluent discharges of manufacturing. These factors have resulted in a significant negative impact on world ecosystems (Dietz, Ostrom, and Stern 1907). What ties social equity and environmental stewardship together is the definition of environmental justice. Environmental justice is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws.” Fair treatment means that absolutely no individual or group should receive a disproportionate allocation of negative environmental burdens from federal, state, and local policies or operations (Wright 532). The developing dilemma is how the American government must handle this hazardous waste issue, with legislators choosing who will suffer the consequences of toxic waste disposal. Despite increasing expenses, should…
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