what is environmental impact assessment?
Environment is not just about plants and animals. It includes humans hence environmental justice because at the end whatever we do to the environment affect us. e.g. health wise
What is Environmental impact assessment?
The subject of environmental justice is important, sensitive, and hard to measure.
Whenever a community is faced with the potential of an environmentally undesirable facility, such as the placement of a hazardous waste dump in its midst, the usual response from residents is:
"Not in my back yard!"
Such a response is known as the NIMBY principle.
Such reactions are usually reactions to visions of previous environmental irresponsibility: uncontrolled dumping of noxious industrial wastes and rusty steel drums oozing hazardous chemicals into the environment. Such occurrences were all too real in the past and some are still taking place.
It is now possible - and much more common - to build environmentally sound, state-of-the-art disposal facilities. However, the NIMBY principle usually prevents the construction of such new facilities.
Instead, hazardous waste facilities tend to be built upon pre-existing, already contaminated sites, even though the geology of such locations may be less favorable for containment than potential new sites.
During the 1980's in the US minority groups protested that hazardous waste sites were preferentially sited in minority neighborhoods. In 1987, Benjamin Chavis of the United Church of Christ Commission for Racism and Justice coined the term environmental racism to describe such a practice.
The charges generally failed to consider whether the facility or the demography of the area came first. Most hazardous waste sites are located on property that was used as disposal sites long before modern facilities and disposal methods were available. Areas around such sites are typically depressed economically, often as a result of past disposal activities. Persons with low incomes are often constrained to live in such undesirable, but affordable, areas. The problem more likely resulted from one of insensitivity rather than racism. Indeed, the ethnic makeup of potential disposal facilities was most likely not considered when the sites were chosen.
Decisions in citing hazardous waste facilities are generally made on the basis of economics, geological suitability and the political climate. For example, a site must have a soil type and geological profile that prevents hazardous materials from moving into local aquifers. The cost of land is also an important consideration. The high cost of buying land would make it economically unfeasible to build a hazardous waste site in Beverly Hills.
Some communities have seen a hazardous waste facility as a way of improving their local economy and quality of life. For example, Emelle County, Alabama had illiteracy and infant mortality rates that were among the highest in the US. A landfill constructed there provided jobs and revenue that ultimately helped to reduce both figures.
In an ideal world, there would be no hazardous waste facilities, but we do not live in an ideal world. Unfortunately, we live in a world plagued by years of rampant pollution and hazardous waste dumping. Our industrialized society has necessarily produced wastes during the manufacture of products for our basic needs. Until technology can find a way to manage (or eliminate) hazardous waste, disposal facilities will be necessary to protect both humans and the environment.
By the same token, this problem must be addressed. Industry and society must become more socially sensitive in the selection of future hazardous waste sites. All humans who help produce hazardous wastes must share the burden of dealing with those wastes, not just the poor and minorities.