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Unfair Location of A Toxic Waste Landfill in an Underprivileged, Black Neighborhood (Term Paper Sample)


Toxic Waste Landfill in an Underprivileged,


Unfair Location of A Toxic Waste Landfill in an Underprivileged, Black Neighborhood
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Unfair Location of A Toxic Waste Landfill in an Underprivileged, Black Neighborhood
In most instances, hazardous coal ash, which is a major byproduct of coal-fired power, is dumped in minority, poor communities. The identified problem is one in which toxic waste is shipped from a wealthy neighborhood in Tennessee and dumped in a landfill in a low-income, African-American neighborhood in Alabama. The toxic waste is impacting the health of the local populations who are falling sick thanks to this environmental injustice (Sturgis, 2009). This problem is particularly important given that the decision to move the hazardous coal ash from Tennessee to a location in Alabama that is mainly populated by low-income, black residents brings up concerns about environmental justice owing to the social vulnerability of the poor minority populations that are targeted.
The case is based in Uniontown, Perry County, Alabama, where Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dumped poisonous coal ash shipped from Roane County in neighboring Tennessee. In essence, the site in which the poisonous coal ash is being taken has high rates of poverty and large populations of African-Americans, which raises questions regarding environmental justice (Sturgis, 2009). Two theoretical frameworks would be applied to the case. These are distributive justice, and recognition and procedural justice. These two frameworks are crucial components of environmental justice.
To manage the environmental justice problem, it is recommended that there should be equitable distribution of the burden of the environmental hazard so that the environmental and public health risk is not disproportionately borne by the poor, African-American residents of Uniontown. In addition, there should be effective participation of the locals in processes of decision-making. They should also be adequate recognition of their socio-cultural differences.
Case Study Institutional Analysis
The key stakeholders in the identified case include the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) which permitted the dumping of toxic waste in a landfill in Uniontown, local leaders of Perry County who voted in the year 2004 to approve the facility/landfill, the local underprivileged residents who are against the landfill located in their county, Tennessee Valley Authority which is dumping the toxic waste, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights which is looking into the problem (Goodman, 2009). The identified problem is targeting low-income, minority neighborhoods for toxic waste sites. The specific site is the Arrowhead Landfill in Uniontown, Alabama. This landfill does not just take in the garbage from a number of states across the United States, but it is also the site in which piles of coal ash from the 2008 ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee is dumped. It is of note that Uniontown, Alabama is about 90% African American and the average medium income of households here is 74% lower than America’s average. The toxic coal ash was shipped from Roane County in Tennessee where only 13.9% of the population is poor and 95% of the people are white (Sturgis, 2009).
Coal ash is a poisonous waste product of burning coal and has a number of harmful metals including cadmium, chromium, mercury, and lead. These pollutants, depending on a person’s exposure, could harm most body organs, bring about cancer, and even sicken or kill wildlife. Ailments ranging from respiratory problems to skin conditions, nosebleeds, and nausea have become widespread in Uniontown (Moskowitz, 2014). Because of the dumping of toxic waste in the Arrowhead landfill, coal ash pollution in the nearby town...

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