As consumerism increases in developed nations, more waste is created. The dilemma of where to throw this toxic waste is constantly being debated. In modern society, the location of waste disposal seems to be near areas where the poor live. Peter Wenz believes this is environmental racism because individuals who live in poor areas, generally people of color and racial minorities, are exposed to disproportionate portions of toxic wastes. Congress, however, has implemented the Superfund law in 1986 to create relationships with communities so that they can have an opportunity to contribute to the cleanup process of waste disposal sites. Do you agree with Wenz’s belief of environmental racism, where we are placing our burden of toxic waste on the poor? If not, why do you believe poor communities tend to be located next to hazardous waste sites?
Another aspect of environmental racism articulated in Earthcare is the idea that developed countries ship their toxic wastes to lesser developed countries. This creates a disregard for the safety of poor individuals living in these countries. One case occurred in Nigeria, where workers storing drums in bins for retransportation suffered chemical burns. Prohibiting these shipments would require developing countries to deal with the wastes they generate. What do you think should be done about the waste that is generally shipped to developing countries?