Pollution, Poverty, and People of Color: Living with Industry

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Pollution, Poverty, and People of Color: Living with Industry

The concept of environmental racism continues to constitute a significant issue as far as the notion of pollution is concerned. Despite the multicultural nature of the present community, people of color are consistently exposed to pollution in contrast to white people, especially in the United States. In particular, studies have shown that people of color are more exposed to air pollution as well as the harmful implications derived from the process in contrast to white people. The discussion in question evaluates the correlation that exists between race and environmental pollution by focusing on the way air pollution poses a negative effect on the people of color that inhabit Richmond, California.

The concept of environmental justice places emphasis on the fair and equal provision of healthy environments to all persons. Irrespective of dimensions such as race, income, or gender, all persons are expected to live and inhabit clean and well environments. Nonetheless, race seems to function as a rather influential aspect as far as the provision of healthy environmental settings to all persons is concerned. Accordingly, studies have shown that pollution – in general – is concentrated among low-income persons of color (Morello-Frosch 480). In addition to this, the populaces in question are exposed to more health risks and hazards in contrast to white people (Morello-Frosch 480). In respect to this, it is possible to understand the extent to which race and pollution correlate based on concerns pertaining to environmental health.

The people of color that occupy North Richmond, California are an illustration of the way racism assumes a role in the provision of unequal environmental settings. Accordingly, most of the residents that occupy the respective area constitute low-income African Americans, Latinos, and Asians that are exposed consistently to air pollution from facilities such as the Chevron Richmond Refinery (Kay and Katz “Pollution, Poverty, and People of Color”). While the area allows the populaces to gain affordable homes, North Richmond is encompassed by a range of polluting enterprises that expose them to health risks and unsustainable ways of living (Kay and Katz “Pollution, Poverty, and People of Color”). As such, the concentrations of people of color in North Richmond are consistently susceptible to the threat of air pollution perpetrated by corporations such as Chevron.

Similar to the situation in Richmond, there have been cases whereby people of color have been affected by pollution in the United States. The Flint water crisis is a significant example of the relationship between race and pollution. While the people of Flint, Michigan were affected by water pollution arising from lead poisoning, causative factors were widely attributed to race as an influential aspect (Hanna-Attisha, LaChance, Sadler, and Schnepp 285). The fact that Flint is largely inhabited by low-income African American residents depicted the way race affected the state and federal government’s responses towards the predicament in question. As such, residents of the respective area were exposed to sufficient amounts of lead in their drinking water.

The exposure of people of color to air pollution in North Richmond, California is a single illustration of environmental injustice. In fact, the case in question correlates to findings, which establish the existence of a relationship between race and exposure to pollution. In this respect, race seems to occupy a position as far as air pollution in North Richmond is concerned. Due to the activities facilitated by corporations such as Chevron, North Richmond residents have been subjected to risks associated with polluted air. Even though relocation may prove to be an essential strategy, the affordability of homes within the area limits most of the residents from moving to other areas. Because of this, North Richmond’s population, which is widely comprised of African Americans, Asians, and Latinos, is susceptible to air pollution and the derived implications.

Works Cited

Hanna-Attisha, Mona, Jenny LaChance, Richard C. Sadler, and Allison C. Schnepp. “Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Associated with the Flint Drinking Water Crisis: A Spatial Analysis of Risk and Public Health Response.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 106, no, 2, 2015, pp. 283-290.

Kay, Jane, and Cheryl Katz. ‘Pollution, Poverty, and People of Color: Living with Industry.” Scientific American, 4 Jun. 2012. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/pollution-poverty-people-color-living-industry/. Accessed 20 Apr. 2018.

Morello-Frosch, Rachel. “Discrimination and the Political Economy of Environmental Inequality.” Environment and Planning: Government and Policy, vol. 20, 2002, pp. 477-496.

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