In 1960s, there was public outcry concerning water pollution in America. This generated the environmental movements that were intended to address such public concerns. When 1960s and today are compared, it emerges that African Americans faced environmental injustices relating to water pollution.
In fact, water pollution in both cases occurred due to improper disposal of toxic wastes by industries into rivers and other water bodies. Despite living in different centuries, water pollution causes similar health problems to people living today and those who lived in the 1960s. The major causes of water pollution in 1960s and today are contamination by industrial wastes, improper waste disposal by individuals, oil spills, and inappropriate farming methods (Cassidy, Judge, and Sommers 877).
Water pollution in 1960s
In 1960s, there were extreme cases of water pollution. However, the public was not aware of the general health problems and associated risks resulting from polluted water. Besides, the governments hardly implemented any environmental protection measures to ensure that both human and industrial activities do not give rise to water pollution. Thus, it was difficult to find individuals taking personal initiatives to ensure water bodies are clean and remained uncontaminated (Daniels, and Friedman 65).
Water pollution in the 1960s occurred due to poor sewage systems in the urban and rural areas. Industrial plants located next to the riverbanks also used the readily available water from such water bodies and disposed their waste products in the rivers. The industrial wastes included dyes, alkalis, various acids, and other chemicals.
Industries like nuclear reactors, refineries, and power plants obtained water from rivers to cool the plants and released toxic wastes back into the rivers. Improper agricultural practices including the use of pesticides, and fertilizers also caused water pollution (Cassidy, Judge, and Sommers 878). Finally, water pollution resulted from oil spills in water bodies such as the seas and oceans.
Despite the health effects caused by water pollution, the government hardly initiated control measures to protect the African Americans from using toxic water. There were no waste disposal sites for industries and those that caused water pollution were never penalized (Gauna, and Sheila 3).
Water pollution today
Unlike in the 1960s, there are reduced cases of water pollution today. The African American population is aware of the overall bottlenecks and risks associated with polluted water. The state has currently implemented the environmental protection measures like constructing proper damping sites to ensure the industrial and personal actions generate meager water pollution. Hence, the American populace takes various environmental initiatives to ensure that water bodies are not polluted (Daniels, and Friedman 67).
In America today, industrial wastes and agricultural activities cause water pollution. When compared to 1960s, water pollution resulting from improper disposal of industrial effluence, nuclear reactants, and agricultural wastes is not rampant. Cases of oil spills in large water bodies have also been reduced (Gauna, and Sheila 3).
The state is implementing the environmental protection measure like constructing proper damping sites to ensure that water pollution is reduced. The environmental protection laws have also been implemented to protect water from unnecessary pollution and to ensure that African Americans never face environmental injustices.
The African Americans face ecological injustices in America. The group is exposed to toxic situations and lives in the discriminated places. However, when today is compared to 1960s, it emanates that the environmental justice movements have emerged to protect the African Americans from water pollution incidences.
These groups currently ensure that civil rights and social justice issues are observed and water pollution is reduced. The group ensures that industries and other bodies that cause water pollution by failing to abide by the environmental laws are penalized. This was not the case in 1960s when such civil rights and environmental justice movements hardly existed.
In 1960s, the government never constructed waste disposal sites to ensure that water was unpolluted. The ethnic minorities lived in water polluted environment in 1960. However, the environmental protection laws have reduced the level of water pollution today. Unlike in 960s, the government today ensures that the sources of water pollution are minimized.
Cassidy, Elizabeth, Rebecca Judge, and Paul Sommers. “The Distribution of Environmental Justice: a Comment.” Social Science Quarterly, 81 (2000): 877-878. Print.
Daniels, Glynis, and Samantha Friedman. “Spatial Inequality and the Distribution of Industrial Toxic Releases: Evidence from the 1990 TRI.” Social Science Quarterly, 80 (1999). Print.
Gauna, Eileen, and Sheila Foster. “Environmental Justice: Stakes, Stakeholders, Strategies.” Human Rights: Journal of the Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities, 30 (2003): 2-4. Print.