Love Canal: community vulnerability and human-induced environmental disaster
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Research Subject Categories::NATURAL SCIENCES
Chemical waste landfill
AbstractThis case study paper will examine the causes and effects of the human-induced environmental disaster at Love Canal. It will specifically highlight the significant impact it had on a lower income, working class neighborhood. Lower income communities tend to have less power and less resource accessibility, which in turn creates their enhanced vulnerability when a disaster strikes. In 1978, it was discovered that hazardous waste had contaminated homes and schools in the Love Canal area, a former chemical landfill which later became a 15 acre neighborhood in the City of Niagara Falls in Western New York. On August 7, 1978, the United States President Jimmy Carter declared a federal emergency at the Love Canal. It became the first man-made disaster to receive emergency funds from the federal government to remedy an industrial disaster. Lessons to take away from this environmental tragedy include the significant leadership role of local resident, Lois Gibbs in the environmental justice movement and the proper disposal of hazardous waste for the protection of the public health and the environment.
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