The U.S. EPA defines Environmental Justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” Communities of color disproportionately experience high pollutant and water contamination levels due to close proximity to hazards (Environmental Justice Coalition). These same communities often do not have equal access to the decision-making process that can protect their neighborhoods. There are many statistics illustrating these inequalities, for example:
- 71% of African Americans live in counties in violation of federal air pollution standards compared to 58% of non-Hispanic whites (EPA).
- African Americans are approximately 1.5 times more likely to have asthma and 3 times more likely to die from asthma than non-Hispanic whites (AAFA).
- Black people experience 56% more pollution than their consumption generates (PNAS).
- 11.2% of African American children are poisoned by lead, compared to 4% of Mexican-American children and 2.3% of white children (CDC).
The following links explain more about these environmental injustices and ways you can take action to combat this form of racism: