Friday, February 6, 2009

Mia, Minorities living in toxic waste

According to a study conducted by researchers at four different California universities, California has the highest concentration of minorities living near hazardous waste facilities. All across the country, the study concluded that the majority of toxic waste sites were located near minority neighborhoods. But in Los Angles Country, of the 1.2 million people living less than two miles from toxic facilities, 91percent of them are minorities.

The effects for these individuals are extremely harmful. Yet top officials claim they are doing all that is within their power to improve the standards of these facilities. Sue Briggium, vice president of federal public affairs for Waste Management, says that she cannot deny the facts and recent legislation will hopefully turn things around. Under the presidency of George Bush, a recommended 28 percent cut in funding for programs working to make changes makes taking action difficult.

It is no surprise to me to read stories such as these. Gentrification and segregation continues to push minorities into certain areas of urban cities with little property value, and in this case harmful toxins. The problem becomes greater, too, when you consider the voice that minorities have in our governments, educational institutions, etc. With little power to speak up about issues such as these, little progress is being made. Imagine if toxic waste sites were located in a prominent neighborhood near the University of Redlands. Pressure and influence in local government would see a drastic end to the problem. However, with little influence many minorities simply must take the wrongs that others commit. This is extremely troubling for me, yet I am confident that the new Obama administration will address issues such as this, and not ignore them like previous administrations have done.

Wilson, Janet. "California Has Largest Number of Minorities Near Hazardous Waste." Los Angles Times [Los Angeles] 17 Apr. 2007.

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