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Old 02-18-2006, 12:25 PM   #1
lord patch
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Default ‘Politically expedient’ dump sites in Black communities

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2006/02/49155.php

‘Politically expedient’ dump sites in Black communities


“You have these politically expedient places to dump; places that wealthy people avoid,” observes Majora Carter, a Hunts Point resident and founder of a community-based organization, Sustainable South Bronx. “It’s a policy that no one talks about.”



‘Politically expedient’ dump sites in Black communities
By Jimmie Briggs
Updated Feb 16, 2006, 11:21 am

NEW YORK (NNPA) - The Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx is notorious for its exhaust-filled air and industrial pollution from power plants and incinerators. The residents are predominantly Black and Latino, many of whom have children battling environmentally-related asthma.

“You have these politically expedient places to dump; places that wealthy people avoid,” observes Majora Carter, a Hunts Point resident and founder of a community-based organization, Sustainable South Bronx. “It’s a policy that no one talks about.”

Recently, the Associated Press wire service released the results of a national investigative study echoing what activists such as Majora Carter and others have been saying for years, that Blacks are overwhelmingly more likely to live in areas with high air pollution, twice more than their White counterparts, in 19 states.

Published on Dec. 13, the study was based on a scoring system that measures air pollution and health effects by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the demographic patterns from the 2000 national census. Seen in light of other reports done on the local level, a picture of an environmental crisis for marginalized, poor Blacks emerges.

“The [AP] study comes at a critical time in our movement,” explains Robert Bullard, founder of the 12-year-old Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark-Atlanta University and the author of books on the environment such as “Dumping Dixie” and “Politics of Pollution.”

“It makes a lot of sense to have a well-respected, White news organization basically saying the same things myself and a number of other researchers have been saying the last two decades,” he continues. “The [AP] study only looked at air pollution, but if you overlay hazards such as lead poisoning and dangerous utilities, you get this piling on effect. The EPA has done a lousy job in terms of enforcing air quality standards.”

Numerous Black areas across the country are enduring the poisonous legacies of environmental pollution in their communities. According to state agencies in Louisiana, New Orleans faced the cleanup of 22 million tons of trash after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Combined with the floating sewage and human waste, the city’s residents are facing what researchers widely describe as a “toxic stew,” hazardous to the health of returning residents.

Other communities not affected by Hurricane Katrina are also facing challenges. A study done by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health last June revealed that in Maryland, the higher the poverty and Black population in a community, the greater the risk of cancer attributable to air pollution.

Citizens in Mossville, La., went so far as to file a human rights petition with the Washington-based Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., in March for the government’s authorization of hazardous industrial sites near predominantly non-White communities such as Mossville.

“There’s been tremendous progress on air pollution,” argues Granta Nakayama, EPA assistant administrator. “The number of air pollutants has dropped by 54 percent since 1970. We’re trying to make the air cleaner for everybody, it doesn’t matter what community you live in.”

The same year the Environmental Justice Resource Center was founded in Atlanta, then-president Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 12989 ordering federal agencies to ensure equal protection from environmental pollution for all communities. That meant agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency were to increase their aggressiveness in protecting non-White, economically depressed areas from disproportionate exposure to environmental toxins.

A decade later, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission published “Not In Our Backyard,” an investigative report essentially concluding that there hadn’t been full compliance with the decree. This conclusion was echoed in 2004 by the EPA inspector general.

For communities of color saddled with disproportionate environmental pollutants, the health consequences are varied, and severe.

A study done six years ago by the American Lung Association discovered that the majority of Black, Latino and Asian children live in areas of high atmospheric ozone exposure, while only half of White children do. Ozone is a carcinogen known to cause skin cancer. Reproductive health issues such as decreased fertility, birth defects and spontaneous abortion are also tied to prolonged exposure to environmental pollutants.

Environmental activists, such as Majora Carter, see the lasting victories being 10 to 20 years away. Last year, her organization, Sustainable South Bronx, launched a feasibility study of a “green roof” project in her community. It was the first step in putting plants, trees and flowers on the rooftops of notoriously desolate buildings.

“There’s often no kind of recourse for the community that’s been taken advantage of,” she says. “It took a long time for our communities to get as devastated as they are, so it’s going to take a long time to clean up.”

© Copyright 2006 FCN Publishing, FinalCall.com

see also:


Only two months earlier, the province ordered a mass evacuation of the reserve, which is on the shore of James Bay, after long-standing contaminated water problems became a national scandal. Tragedy struck again on Sunday afternoon when a blaze started in the building that housed the jail and killed two young men who were locked in their cells. -- "Fire kills 2 jailed men on Kashechewan reserve"

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2006/01/47640.php

or

http://www.cbc.ca/ottawa/story/ot-ka...n20060109.html

and

It’d been more than two weeks since the bacteria were found in the town’s water supply, and two years since a standing “boil water” advisory was issued. The province commenced an evacuation by air two days later. Comparisons to other recent water-related disasters have been surprisingly absent. Canucks were happy to gloat over the American racial chasm clearly reflected in the New Orleans floodwaters; facing similar Canadian realities is proving a bit more awkward. -- "Bigger than Gomery: Neglect of reserves is the real scandal"

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2006/01/47598.php

and


..But the sad truth is that many northern reserves across the country have equally terrible living conditions, often the result of forced relocation, ecological damage, financing shortages and other causes beyond their control...Poisoned by diesel fuel spilled into the ground by Manitoba Hydro, and chronically underfunded by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, the reserve is a study in penury and neglect. -- "Packed in on a toxic Manitoba reserve"

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/12/47100.php

or


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...tory/National/

and

Right now, human rights campaigners, anti-poverty activists, feminists and groups representing racial minorities and native women are savouring a rare triumph. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has just issued a stinging report, endorsing all of their complaints about the way Canada treats vulnerable minorities....Everything civil libertarians had been saying for years was echoed by the global panel. -- "Canada ignores U.N. criticism"

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/45794.php

and

On July 11th 1990 the Quebec Police were sent in to take down the Mohawk barricade by opening fire on the people. It was an unsuccessful attack. One policeman was killed, apparently by “friendly fire”. The siege lasted 78 days. In the final tally hundreds of paramilitary Quebec provincial police, 4,000 heavily armed military troops and the RCMP had been deployed against the Mohawks at Kanehsata:ke and their two sister communities of Kahnawake and Akwesasne. The cost was over $500 million. It was the biggest crisis in Canadian history." -- "Corporate "Gangsta Rap; at Indian Affairs"

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2006/01/47529.php
and

and


Though Lt.-Gov. James Bartleman, a member of the Mnjikaning First Nation, said the Kashechewan water crisis is "an appalling, disgusting situation," he said larger issues remain to tackle to achieve social and economic equality. "Even more important than the water situation . . . is literacy and education," he said.-- "Natives' plight 'disgusting'"


http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/45723.php

or

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Nat...98669-sun.html

and


Philadelphia Journalist and activist _Walidah Imarisha_ ...reports on the conditions she witnessed inside New Orleans–area jails while doing relief work with the _Common Ground Collective_ ...."...Prisoners are still being shoved into already overcrowded prisons, and the conditions have rapidly deteriorated. Orleans Parish Prison, which was the county jail for New Orleans, flooded and prisoners were left trapped in their cells, abandoned by the guards who got out. If it wasn’t for other prisoners crowbarring cell doors open, many more prisoners would have died in their cell...."

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/12/47363.php

and

http://www.livejournal.com/users/badsis/

and


Add the trend towards private prison facility management and corporate use of prison labor, and you have an extremely unsettling social situation. Are we witnessing the creation of a slave labor force for the corporate New World Order?-- "Prison Factories: Slave Labor for the New World Order?"


http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/12/47031.php


and


Islamic Community Net -- Inmates in Templeman III, one of several buildings in the Orleans Parish Prison compound, reported that as of Monday, August 29, there were no correctional officers in the building, which held more than 600 inmates. These inmates, including some who were locked in ground-floor cells, were not evacuated until Thursday, September 1, four days after flood waters in the jail had reached chest-level. -- "NEW ORLEANS PRISONERS ABANDONED IN FLOODWATERS"


http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/09/43836.php

and

http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2005/09/5570.php


http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/natio...wan060109.html

http://www.940news.com/nouvelles.php?cat=23&id=11429

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...an0209/BNStory...


and


...But the sad truth is that many northern reserves across the country have equally terrible living conditions, often the result of forced relocation, ecological damage, financing shortages and other causes beyond their control...Poisoned by diesel fuel spilled into the ground by Manitoba Hydro, and chronically underfunded by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, the reserve is a study in penury and neglect. -- "Packed in on a toxic Manitoba reserve"


http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/12/47100.php

and

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...tory/National/

and

Right now, human rights campaigners, anti-poverty activists, feminists and groups representing racial minorities and native women are savouring a rare triumph. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has just issued a stinging report, endorsing all of their complaints about the way Canada treats vulnerable minorities....Everything civil libertarians had been saying for years was echoed by the global panel. -- "Canada ignores U.N. criticism"

http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/45794.php


http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publ...cle_2441.shtml
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