It is quite disturbing when you find yourself living in a questionable location for any reason. When you find out that your neighborhood is changing due to crime, violence, and other human problems a person can honestly say that it was expected. However, when you find out that you are living in a location that is contaminated you suddenly feel betrayed. This is something that was done quietly and in secret and for most people it is an unexpected danger. You know that living near people is a danger because you never truly know anyone. So many cases have shown how people are surprised to find out their neighbor was caught doing something terrible. To find out that your home is surrounded by dangerous chemicals and even organic compounds is a completely different threat. No one expects that their land can cause their family unknown harm.
That is what the residents of New Jersey have learned recently. That ninety percent of their state is covered with dangerous contaminated land. There land is covered with things that include lighter fluid, plastics, and chemicals. These chemicals include benzene and dioxide and even dangerous organic compounds. Since this discovery the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been working tirelessly and in with the most speed possible to help clean up the areas. They have even chosen to hire outside private contractors to help determine what sites get cleaned in which order that makes the most since.
Reporter's Findings About Sites
A reported from WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio has discovered that these sites have been sitting untouched for years. There are thousands of these sites that are near poor communities, schools and businesses in New Jersey. The WNYC team has taken the time to map out these sites and are planning on airing this list on Sarah Gonzalez's series called “Dirty Little Secrets” which has aired recently on WNYC. This list includes all the sites that are current environmental concerns to those with no clean up plan in place. They have even estimated that eighty-nine percent of residents live within a mile of at least one dangerous sites. They also made a chart to show what the breakdown of percentage of races live near contaminated sites. This list shows that ninety-four percent of poverty level individuals live near contaminated sites and only seventy-four percent have a cleanup plan in place. It has also presented a breakdown in income level percentage compared to the percentage of each income level is near a site with no cleanup plan in place. There is a large percentage of individuals and families who earn less than $25,000 a year that live near sites with no clean up. That number is sixty-six percent of households with an income less than $25,000 who live nears sites with no cleanup plan currently in place. That means a lot of lower income households who will still be living near contaminated sites while higher income level households have sites who are being made to hire cleanup professionals. Check out contaminated sites near you using this map.
Who Really Suffers From Environmental Damage?
This information is quite disturbing when you consider that many times land contamination can lead to health concerns that are sometimes not connected to environmental issues. Lower income families who are quite likely already struggling to get by may then be put into a tighter spot trying to figure out why they are getting sick and not being able to seek the help they need to insure their homes are just as well protected at higher income level families.