A River Runs Through Us Essay

4120 Words 17 Pages
A River Runs Through Us 1. “The Anacostia River is a metaphor for the way poor people and minorities are treated” (Hoover). In 1994, the Anacostia River was fourth on the list of American Rivers' “Most Endangered Rivers” (Rynor). Since the late 19 th century the water quality in this river has slowly declined with the onset of urbanization and industrialization and the pollution that accompanies this growth. The Anacostia is severely polluted with “sediment, nutrients, pathogens, toxins, and trash” (“Cleaning”). And it is no coincidence that the river runs through some of Washington D.C.'s poorest communities in the south-eastern sections of the city.

2. Environmental injustice has been an ongoing battle that
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The north-west sections of town contribute to most of the pollution plaguing the Anacostia River.

4. One resident of Anacostia said he has “seen used hypodermic needles washing up along the shoreline—and ducks so thick on the water that it looked as if he could walk across their backs to the other side” (Lee). The ducks he describes have died as a result of the extreme pollution. This description shows the dangerous effects of the pollution and the fact that it is killing the river's wildlife as well as endangering residents. It is unsafe for residents of the area to swim or fish in the river because of its extreme pollution and health risks. Recently, there have been signs posted along the river which warn residents of the hazardous waters. However, for many years the pollution of the Anacostia River was “Washington's dirty little secret” (Cohn, “Warnings”) and there were no signs warning people of the pollution.

5. The fact that the Anacostia River is “Washington's dirty little secret” reflects the attitude of the rest of the city towards Anacostia. A great majority of the District prefers to ignore the underlying problems faced by Anacostia; this ignorance is reflected in the condition of the river running through its demolished communities. This area east of the river is unanimously known as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the city. The fact that city is able to keep Anacostia hidden from the rest of
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