Eerie connections between Love Canal, Flint
Letter to the Editor
Love Canal is a section of Niagara Falls, New York, where toxic chemicals were legally dumped and people suffered as a result. I thought that the situation in Love Canal ended in the 1970s. It seems like eons ago. Politicians were reluctantly involved in getting these people their lives back. Toxic chemicals no longer seeped into the bodies of children and adults. There were no longer cancers caused by the substances. Forty-five years or so ago, we dealt with the ordeal. Or so we thought.
The situation in Love Canal seems eerily connected to the situation happening in Flint, Michigan. For one, politicians knew exactly what was happening. In this case, they knew the water was unsanitary, but they continued to let the water enter the bodies of children and adults. Why? Because it was cheaper. You know what's more expensive than cheap, dirty and disgusting water? The end result of sick children and adults. Both Love Canal’s and Flint’s situations caused numerous birth defects, and politicians just let it happen. Ironically, land was purchased for a school in Love Canal because it was cheaper. Lives have been lost because of this Flint situation. Families have been broken apart because politicians do not want to admit wrongdoing and fix a problem.
Both the situation in Love Canal and Flint involved people with low incomes. Why is there still a gap between the rich and poor? If these people were not so marginalized, would the issues have been dealt with already? Better yet, would the issues even exist in the first place? It is evident in many cases that people of certain races, economic backgrounds and education are not going to have the same opportunities that other people have and are disenfranchised from the clean lifestyles of wealthy families.
Finally, deny, deny deny. Officials declared that everything was safe. The substances seeping into homes and schools were safe in Love Canal and the water quality was safe in Flint. What officials really can't say is, "Go feed your family with this lead-tainted water." Independent researchers needed to go in and discover that it was a danger to society. Boy, does that sound familiar? But from where? That's right! Love Canal. Do people in Flint need to kidnap another official to get things done?
Until politicians learn to deal with problems head on instead of trying to make a cheap buck, things like this are going to keep happening. Stop marginalizing people. Stop denying dangers. Fix things that come up before they become so large that they cannot be fixed. In the end, the government loses when the people need to be paid because of injuries.
Jessica Schoen is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore majoring in environmental policy, institutions and behavior.
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