(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)- The Hoosier Environmental Council is hosting a free online workshop to consider issues of environmental injustice, particularly those confronted by communities in northwest Indiana. Scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, 2013 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. (EST), HEC’s webinar will examine the very harmful effects of environmental injustice on northwest Indiana’s low-income and minority communities, its root causes, and present potential strategies for addressing this long-standing and critical issue.
“Low-income and minority populations often face disproportionate burdens of environmental pollution and related health risks in this country,” said Kim Ferarro, staff attorney and director of water policy for the Hoosier Environmental Council. “Such is the case for the low-income, minority communities in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago where residents have, for decades, been exposed to a host of pollutants from an incredible concentration of industrial sources – all packed into a small 80 square-mile area.” These three communities are home to 52 CERCLA/Superfund sites, 423 hazardous waste sites, more than 460 underground storage tanks (USTs), three wastewater treatment works, and 15 combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
As a result, these disadvantaged residents breathe air that is, in some areas, several times the national average in toxicity, and they drink, swim and fish in waters that annually bear 11 billion gallons of raw untreated sewage, and 2 million pounds of developmental, reproductive and cancer-causing toxins. Not surprisingly, these environmental factors play a role in higher-than-average levels of respiratory illnesses and cancers. “With more than 30% of the area's population under the age of 18, the consequences of these environmental risks extend beyond health impacts to affect factors such as school performance and, therefore, the formation of a long-term, productive labor force. As a matter of fundamental fairness, human decency and social equity, it is time for us to take action and help empower these communities to achieve environmental justice. And, addressing these long-term injustices is very much in keeping with the Governor’s own vision of making Indiana number one in quality of life.” Ferraro said.
The webinar, which is free for participants, will include speakers Kim Ferraro (mentioned above), with availability by HEC’s executive director Jesse Kharbanda and Tim Maloney, HEC’s senior policy director to comment on environmental injustice in other parts of the state . To register, click on the following link: http://www.hecweb.org/news-events/webinars/
This webinar is sponsored through grants from the John S. and James L.Knight Fund, a fund of Legacy Foundation, promoting informed and engaged communities, and, the Lake County Community Fund, a fund of Legacy Foundation, inspiring you to give where you live.
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About Hoosier Environmental Council:
Founded in 1983, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) is the largest statewide environmental policy organization in Indiana. HEC aims to foster solutions that simultaneously improve environmental quality and economic well-being. Visit hecweb.org for more information. You can also follow HEC on Twitter: @hec_ed, or like us on Facebook: facebook.com/hecweb.