Monday, August 16, 2010

Oily Waste: Where is It All Going?

Clean-up Workers on a beach in Grand Isle, La. in July
fill a bag with oily waste. Throughout the gulf 61 percent
of the waste is reportedly being dumped near minority
communities. (Photo by Nicholas Moroni)

Reports indicate that 61 percent of oily waste ends up in minority communities in the gulf region

By Nicholas Moroni

The Washington Post post reported today that a disproportionate amount of oily waste - that is, oily booms, rags, hazmut suits, gloves, etc. - are being dumped in landfills near minority communities in the gulf region.

According to the article, waste from cleanup efforts subsequent to the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 workers, and led to an 86-day oil well gusher, 40 miles off the shore of Louisiana, has produced some 45,000 tons of garbage. Of that waste, roughly 61 percent has been dumped near areas that largely comprise minority communities.

"Low income communities are getting dumped on in such a way that is so overwhelming it should raise eyebrows," Robert Bullard, director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, told the Post.

Residents have also allegedly complained of being disregarded in the decision-making process, and BP had promised to engage and include residents in discourse before dumping oily waste in neighboring landfills.

As contracted haulers dump tons of oily waste daily, one of the greatest unknowns is the effect(s) of any lingering dispersants - traces of which might still be on soiled booms.

A Louisiana resident who lives just miles from a landfill in Venice (off the gulf) called the move "a slap in the face."

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