It seems that every time you turn around there is another allegation that something is being deemed racist. It would seem it was just a matter of time before the most recent accusation of racism rear its ugly head---that of air pollution. That's right, now even air pollution is racist—okay. What?
According to a report over at USA Today, yet another inequality exists in America—that of the very air that we breathe. A study conducted by the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) both Blacks and Hispanics is forced to breathe air that is polluted by non-Hispanic whites. The research done by the PNAS is also being said to prove for the first time that a racial gap does indeed exist between those who cause air pollution and those who breathe it.
The study concluded that "Pollution is disproportionately caused by whites, but disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic minorities." The study went on to state that the most significant environmental health risk that exists in the US still remains to be poor air quality. With an estimated 100,000 death per year, that factors out to more Americans dying from air pollution than those reported to die in car crashes or murders—combined.
Engineering professor Jason Hill, at the University of Minnesota, stated that even though minorities are not contributing to the overall air pollution problem, such as whites, they continue to feel the effects of it more." Hill went on to pose the question of whether or not it is fair that whites are shown to create more air pollution, resulting in someone else being affected in a disproportionate amount.
Hill went on to state that the real surprise is how enormous the inequality of air pollution is and has been proven to be for over a decade now. The type of air pollution sited in the study was that of "PM 2.5"—which are tiny grains of particular matter that proves to be particularly dangerous as the small particles are capable of getting down deep into our lungs. These individual particles are stated to be produced by such things as car tailpipes, power plant smokestacks, and even the burning of materials.
To help to understand the study and to put it into perspective, Hill stated that scientists have found that when it comes to pollution intensive services and goods, whites spend more money than do either blacks or Hispanics. Which would follow that whites create and generate much more pollution than the other groups do?
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Is there something to the idea that even the air that we breathe is now racist?