To better understand environmental injustice, it is beneficial to look at some examples of environmental injustice found across the country. There are many examples from the past decade that have become important parts of how the country views and responds to environmental injustice.
Understanding Environmental Injustice
Environmental injustice happens when people are disproportionately impacted by environmental factors because of discrimination. It can happen for a variety of reasons and involve multiple types of discrimination. For example, socioeconomic status plays a major part in which groups are affected by man-made environmental hazards.
Communities in Arizona are affected by uranium mining. According to the City of Albuquerque, an example of environmental injustice is the communities and the health-related problems for people living near radioactive uranium mines, specifically found in poor and rural communities in Arizona. These communities are generally dominated by lower socioeconomic classes that do not have the means to move away from the mines. Because of this, they face a larger impact of water, air, and ground contamination by uranium mining.
Examples of Environmental Injustice
Some examples of environmental injustice are well-known in political and popular culture. The situation in Flint, Michigan is one of the leading examples. Flint is a town in Michigan that is facing major water contamination and lead exposure thanks to the actions of its government. The city did not perform enough due diligence research before switching its water supply. As a result, it chose a water system that was highly contaminated with lead and other waste products that had been dumped into the river.
The Flint problem disproportionately affected minorities and low socioeconomic classes that could not fix the problem, find other sources of water, or leave the area. Many people were made sick by exposure to contaminants. Even worse, the problem has not been resolved. Many people who cannot afford an alternative are stuck in the area and continue to be exposed to health hazards.
Liability is an important part of taking legal action to promote environmental justice. Lawsuits are filed against parties that are liable for damages. In some cases, they can be local governments.
In West New York, NJ, there is a case where the local government may have created unsafe drinking water conditions that disproportionately affect children. Test results showed that water contamination by lead levels was so high that it may have been one of the most severe cases in the last several decades. Legal action is being taken against the local government who is responsible for maintaining water systems and water quality standards. If financial compensation is recovered, it should go to helping child victims improve their health and make a full recovery.
Environmental Justice Law
In many places, environmental justice law is playing a more important part in fixing issues in communities. According to Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), there is noxious land use in the neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City. Environmental laws should prohibit the use of the land that way. Legal action can force local governments to enforce those laws effectively and to prevent the potential negative health effects that they can cause.
Understanding Your Rights
If you suffer injuries because of environmental injustice, you have the right to take legal action against any party that is liable for those injuries. Legal action can promote change for you and your community by holding the liable party responsible for its actions. This is happening right now in University Park, Illinois.
The company that provides water to University Park encountered problems that created a lead contamination problem in 2019. Customers were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water. While the company said that it would only take a few weeks to fix, the lead contamination continues today. The company used the wrong water chemistry, which corroded the lead solder and welding in-home pipe systems.
Because the company is responsible for the high amounts of lead in the water, it is responsible for any potential damages that it causes. This means that victims have a high risk of developing health-related problems, birth defects, and other problems. Customers could not afford solutions, like filter systems or repiping their houses.
Taking Legal Action
If environmental injustice affects your community, you can take legal action. In East End Pittsburgh, the community is turning to legal action to improve how they are represented in government. The area has crumbling infrastructure, high amounts of air pollution, and similar issues because of poor representation. You can take action to make the government see the problems that you have and address them in new ways to get results.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one suffered from any type of environmental injustice, you could be entitled to some compensation. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444 to speak with a member of our team about what happened. There is no cost associated with your consultation.