Designer: Moja Robinson
US trash incinerators can damage human and ecological health. Moreover, they hardly make any profits as it's expensive to maintain. These trash burning facilities are strategically placed in underdeveloped areas, where there is less socio-political power to investigate these harmful plants. These areas are considered sacrifice zones or areas that are permanently impaired by heavy environmental alterations or economic disinvestment, often through locally unwanted land use for the greater good of the entire region (e.g., South Bronx and Manhattan). Sacrifice zones are purposely positioned in low-income and communities of color because these communities tend to have less economic and political power to fight the placement of things like waste facilities, highways, petrochemical businesses, and so on.
Sacrifice zones have been going on since Emancipation Proclamation but became popular after The National Housing Act of 1934, where redlining was introduced and then justified by the Federal Housing Administration in the 1960s. This sparked the environmental justice movement, led by environmental justice communities (EJC), which are communities most impacted by environmental harms and risks. The same people who live and work in sacrifice zones. This map tells the story of the correlation between EJC health and trash incinerators.
Learn more about the story here:
Methodology: EJ communities were defined by locally enacted legislation, adopted policy, or proposed law. All of which were focused on racial demographics and income.
A 3-mile buffer was used to determine if the incinerator was in an EJ community.
*For more information click here (password: noburn!)