University Environmental Injustice Introduction Environmental Justice is a concept that emerged in the United States and has two distinct uses: the first is that it describes a social movement focusing on the fair distribution of environmental burdens and benefits. It is also defined as the fair handling and significant participation of all people with respect to the improvement, execution, and enforcement of ecological laws, rules, and policies. Any act that violates the above-mentioned laws could be termed as an environmental injustice.
This includes, but not limited to, air quality, environmental friendly technology, drainage systems, energy and waste management, water quality, fisheries (illegal), forestry (logging), poaching, and mining among others. This paper presents a case study of the Mississippi river, and research on the various environmental injustices carried out in the river. The key words in this paper are environmental Justice, health disparities, human rights, heavy metals, and contaminants. Oil-related products.
According to history, African Americans are the major inhabitants of River Mississippi. Oil refineries and industries dealing with petroleum products flock along the banks of the river. This leaves the area population unfairly burdened by health problems associated with proximity to these industrial plants. Polluting industries have typically not been overly accountable to society, and even less so to disadvantaged groups lacking expertise or political voice to fight the injustice. This threatens the human health and hence violating of human rights. Merrill, 2009, p. 59). In addition, the modern drive to dispose dangerous nuclear waste on Indian reservations is environmental inequality. Going by the UN Draft on Human Rights and the Environment, person rights, natural sound surroundings, and sustainable growth are inter-reliant and inseparable. All people have the right to protect and safe surroundings. (ADHERE, UN 1994). Thus, the pollution and any environmental injustice committed along Mississippi river are a violation of human rights for they cause health disparities.
Risk of metals Another major environmental injustice on the Mississippi river is the disposal of heavy metals. Heavy metals are carried as either dissolved kind in water or as a fundamental part of floating sediments. The metals may be obtained from natural and synthetic sources. Physically, metals are mostly from sources such as rock weathering, soil erosion, and soluble salts dissolved in water. They progress all the way through marine environment discretely of human activities.
However, metals could also appear from the manufacturing industries built along the valleys of the river, and this affects the quality of the water in the river. Although the metal sediments are crucial for good metabolism in the marine living animals, they could be toxic if they are in high amounts; other metals presently are thought to be non- essential and toxic even at relatively low amounts. (Garbanzo, et al, 1995). Some of heavy metals’ sources in the river include municipal waste water-treatment plants, By dong Mining also exposes metal-bearing ores and increases contaminants into the river.
The most commonly known heavy metals along Mississippi river are copper, zinc, mercury, and lead. Impacts of Environmental Injustices. There are various impacts of the environmental injustice on the local environment and community. People consume tiny metallic pieces through food and water. Some of the sediments are necessary to their life and growth. Biological anomalies would occur if such rudiments were depleted. However, the elements may turn out to be lethal or aesthetically unhealthy when their amounts are too immense in a human body.
Some are highly toxic even at relatively low concentrations, or if they accumulate in body tissues over long time (Garbanzo, et al, 1995). Some of those metals have cancer-causing asbestos, which is a great threat to the human health. The petroleum products disposed in the river are a great threat to marine life. Oil inhibits the entry of fresh air to the waters and this kills the marine organisms. In addition, the solvents in the oil products cause the water to be unfit for human drinking and other domestic use.
Conclusion. Environmental hazards are great threat to both humans and living organisms along the Mississippi river. Water and soil pollution are Just a few injustices resulting from the environmental unfriendly practices along the river. There are threats to the foodstuffs consumed, poor water quality, and endangered marine species. (Cutest, 1998, p. 59). There is a need to protect the river from any means of pollution, and espousal from industries and this will greatly reduce any environmental injustice along the river.