Coal an Environmental Injustice
African American residential areas have borne the brunt of illegal disposal of waste materials since 1982. Despite the intervention of groups such as the United Church of Christ, illegal disposal of waste has never stopped. The intervention process involved peaceful demonstrations which led to the arrest of more than 500 civilians. One of the companies that led to the increased release of the toxic gaseous materials is Crawford. This was until its closure in 2012. The company provided a cheap source of power for the African American communities in the area.
Through production of electricity using coal as a source of power, the company managed to produce several toxic gaseous effluents which led to environmental pollution in the country, especially in Chicago, where the company was situated. The great environmental impact of the company was even more adverse since there were no enforceable regulations on maintaining environmental conservation practices. The actions of the company in regards to environmental pollution were considered to be synonymous to environmental racism.
Different environmental groups fought for the closure of the company due to the impacts of its pollution on the communities living within 5 miles from the company (McGinley & Mullins, 2013). The environmental effects of coal as a form of energy are many. For instance, the gases released lead to the formation of acid rain which impacts soil pH inhibiting agricultural practices. Coal mining also prevents the growth of surface vegetation. In humans, coal dust results in respiratory diseases which reduce the life expectancy of people living in physical proximity to mines and coal power plants. The plants also consume too much water resulting in the reduction in the amount of water available for human consumption.
McGinley, P. C., & Mullins, C. M. N. (2013). Journal of Environmental and Sustainability Law Spring, 2013* 305 Collateral Damage: Turning a Blind Eye to Environmental and Social Injustice in the Coalfields. Journal of Environmental and Sustainability Law.
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