Southern Environmental Racism

We have been talking a lot about environmental racism lately, and it has really sparked my interest. While I do believe it is wrong, I have come to a conclusion, that in my opinion,  it is probably one of the problems that will be the most difficult to fix. Until technology gets better, and we somehow come up with a way to reduce waste to a minimal, we will always produce garbage.  Obviously, when we produce garbage, we have to do something with it. Currently, most of the landfills and nuclear waste facilities are in the poorest counties of each state, and particularly the south. The south tends to attract landfills and waste facilities because it has much more poor, rural areas than compared to the north. However, what could we do about this? I’ve heard some suggestions such as just evenly distribute the waste between multiple counties in each state, and stop bringing all of it to the South. Well, while this sounds like a simple solution, it won’t exactly work like people think. Let’s say that we decide to put a landfill in the wealthiest county in Tennessee. If we did that, within a year or so, every single wealthy family would have moved elsewhere. Why? Because, no one wants to live by a landfill. Since the wealthy have the means to easily pick up and move, they will. This will in turn result in the property value decreasing and the only people living there doing so because it’s the only place they can find work. Within a couple years’ time, if even that long, the wealthiest community in Tennessee could be transformed into one of the poorest. My point is with this, we can’t stop it. The wealthy families will not live in an undesirable location, because they don’t have to. They can pick up and buy another house elsewhere, whenever they want. Poor people can’t do that because they simply cannot afford it. This will not change unless we stop people from being able to move residences freely, which will not happen. Keep in mind; I’m not saying that these dumps will always be in black neighborhoods, because there is a solution there. We can do things as a society that will allow blacks to be on an equal class status as whites. However, as far as class, theses landfills and dumps will always be in the poorest neighborhoods.

Now you’re probably asking, so what do you propose, just make the poor people live among garbage just because they’re poor? No, I believe there are solutions, but I do not believe that the government will take actions on any of these, because they are simply too expensive.  One would be funnel more money into developing technology that produces less waste. Another, come up with a better system to get Americans to recycle. Currently, we suck at recycling. I’m seen numerous examples of people throwing away a water bottle in a garbage can when there has been a recycling can right beside it. Americans just don’t care anything about recycling. Granted, recycling wouldn’t eliminate garbage, but it could significantly reduce the amount. The last would be ship the garbage somewhere where people do not live. This could help the many communities that have to live with landfills, but this would require the government to spend larger amount of money on garbage, something that they are not willing to do.

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