Book Quote Topic 8

“The fifth category of environmental refugee has appeared only in the last 50 years or so: people who are trying to escape toxic waste or dangerous radiation levels. During the late 1970s, Love Canal- a small town in upstate New York, part of which was built on top of a toxic waste disposal site- made national and international headlines.” (Brown 79-80)

The reason behind Love Canal making headlines was that Hooker Chemical Company dumped tons of toxic waste (21,000 tons to be exact) then closed the site and built an elementary school on top of it. This resulted in numerous diseases due to exposure of the toxic waste and the government had to relocate these families. I personally find this deplorable because it isn’t only about the families being reimbursed for their homes, but the fact that they had to uproot their families from their homes, find new jobs, and start new lives all because this chemical waste wasn’t properly dealt with. This also happens in countries such as Guatemala, where the poor basically live in the dumps to try to scavenge for trash they can try to resell. This is still happening in the US, like New York State for example where they turned a full land fill into a park. That air is not safe to breathe. This applies to the EPA’s hazardous waste laws, which depending on what the waste is there are specific regulations in place to manage the disposal of said chemicals.

Lea Aftimos

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