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: What Is It?
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, socio-economic status plays a major part in which groups face man-made environmental hazards.
For example, communities in New Mexico suffer from 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 New Mexico.
These communities generally comprise lower socio-economic 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.
Two Examples of Environmental Injustice
Here are some specific examples of environmental injustice happening right now:
The Flint Water Crisis
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 faces 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 from various water supplies.
The Flint problem disproportionately affected minorities and low socio-economic classes that could not fix the problem, find other sources of water, or leave the area. Many people were exposed to contaminants. Even worse, the problem continues. Many people who cannot afford alternative housing remain in the area and continue to face health hazards.
Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the military stationed Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. During that period, countless Marines and their families suffered exposure to contaminated water. The water, used for drinking and bathing, caused many people to develop cancer, kidney problems, and reproductive issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, over 400,000 Camp Lejeune veterans have applied for disability benefits. They assert that because of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, they suffered life-altering conditions. Many have chosen to partner with environmental justice lawyers on their cases.
What Does Environmental Injustice Cause?
The University of Pittsburgh reports that environmental injustice can cause these ailments in a community:
- Lead poisoning
- Reproductive problems, such as stillbirth and birth defects
Environmental injustice affects communities struggling with racial discrimination, drug abuse, poverty, and anti-social behavior.
Several Parties Could Bear Liability for Environmental Injustice
Liability is an important part of taking legal action against environmental injustice. Plaintiffs file lawsuits against liable parties. In some cases, local governments hold liability.
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 continues against the local government that is responsible for maintaining water systems and water quality standards. If claimants secure compensation, it could help child victims improve their health or make a full recovery.
Environmental Justice Law and How It Related to Environmental Injustice
In many places, environmental justice law plays an important part in fixing community issues. According to Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), there is a 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 prevent the potential negative health effects that they can cause.
Understanding Your Rights in Regard to Environmental Injustice
If you suffer injuries because of environmental injustice, you have the right to take legal action against the liable party. Legal action can promote change for you and your community. 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 faced high levels of lead in their drinking water. While the responsible 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 homes’ 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 issues. Many customers cannot afford solutions, like filter systems or repiping their houses.
Taking Legal Action in the Wake of Environmental Injustice
If environmental injustice affects your community, you can take legal action. In East End Pittsburgh, the community is turning to legal action to improve their quality of life.
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 for More Examples of Environmental Injustice
If you or a loved one suffered from any type of environmental injustice, you could seek compensation. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 712-3999 to speak with a member of our team about what happened. There is no cost associated with your consultation.