Photo: Waste Management Dump is Toxics Say Residents
Several Latino community advocacy organizations in California have joined forces to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for what they are labeling as ‘environmental racism’. These California Latinos, mainly living in low-income farming areas, think the EPA is poorly managing three state waste dumps which in turn has negatively affected their health.
Latino residents around the dumps feel they are toxic because they have noticed a higher rate of birth defects and infant deaths. The combination of pesticide spraying in nearby fields, exhaust from hauling trucks and the toxic dumps themselves are to blame they say. It is also alleged that these communities well-water is contaminated with benzene and arsenic.
The community of Kettleman City which is compromised of mostly Hispanic farm workers is taking the lead in the lawsuit but there are two other toxic waste dumps also located in or near low-income Hispanic communities.
An EPA report from a 2010 investigation does show that the landfill in Kettleman, operated by Waste Mangement Inc., has indeed violated numerous environmental safety measures. For their part the EPA has issued directives and may fine the facility, but the Latinos residents want to insure these practices stop and want justice.