Apr. 5, 2007 – Twenty years after a landmark report documented environmental racism in the United States, new evidence shows that toxic waste is still being disproportionately dumped on communities of color.
A report released this week, commissioned by the United Church of Christâ€™s Justice and Witness Ministries program, builds on a 1987 UCC study that investigated the proximity of communities of color to hazardous-waste sites. The 2007 report was written by four professors from various universities.
The new report discovered that despite increased awareness and advocacy for communities of color, environmental racism persists.
Of the more than 9 million people estimated to live within 1.8 miles of the nationâ€™s 413 commercial waste facilities, more than 5.1 million are people of color, according to the report. That means that while people of color make up just a quarter of the general US population, they constitute about 60 percent of those living near waste facilities.
The authors drew on information from the 2000 Census, as well as Environmental Protection Agency databases of commercial waste facilities.
The reportsâ€™ authors made a list of recommendations to turn the tide of environmental racism, including passing legislation that would protect communities of color, holding congressional hearings on the EPAâ€™s response to waste contamination in communities of color, and requiring states to generate report cards on progress toward "environmental justice."