Monday, 23 September 2019
Environment featured Racism

Letter: Think of environmental racism as an act of attempted genocide

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – It has been shown that not all individuals are equally exposed to pollution. For example, landfills and toxic waste sites are more prevalent in poorer communities, and African Nova Scotian and First Nation communities. The single most important factor in predicting the location of hazardous-waste sites in Nova Scotia is the ethnic composition of a neighborhood.

The original dump near Lincolnville. Screenshot from “In whose backyard”

Most landfills in Nova Scotia are located in or near African Nova Scotian and First Nation communities. This includes the 1st and 2nd landfill located in and next to my African Nova Scotian home community of Lincolnville Guysborough County, Nova Scotia.

See also: Interactive map documents environmental racism in Nova Scotia

The fact that the wealth of a community is not nearly as good a predictor of landfills and hazardous-waste locations as is the ethnic background of the residents reinforces the conclusion that racism is involved in the selection of sites for landfills and hazardous-waste disposal.

Environmental racism is not limited to Nova Scotia and or Canada; it takes international forms as well. Dangerous chemicals banned in the United States often continue to be produced and shipped to developing countries of color. Additionally, the developed world has shipped large amounts of toxic waste to developing countries of color for less-than-safe disposal.

Environmental racism is racial discrimination in environmental policy-making through race-based differential enforcement of environmental rules and regulations. It’s the intentional or unintentional targeting of racially visible communities for landfills and toxic waste disposal and transfer and for the location of polluting industries. It also means the exclusion of people of colour from public and private boards, commissions, regulatory bodies, and environmental non-profit organizations.

It could be concluded that environmental racism is an act of attempted genocide.

Raymond Sheppard

See also: Weekend video: In whose backyard?

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