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Title:Environmental perceptions and participation in environmental decision-making among Blacks: A study of environmental justice and solid waste management planning in two Illinois counties
Author(s):Vos, Jacobus Johannes
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Burdge, Rabel J.
Department / Program:Black Studies
Urban and Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban and Regional Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Black Studies
Political Science, Public Administration
Environmental Sciences
Urban and Regional Planning
Abstract:Since environmental justice reached the agenda of researchers in the mid 1980s, most environmental justice research has focused on the siting of environmentally hazardous facilities and the occurrence of urban air pollution. Although, research on environmental justice is still in its infancy, existing studies clearly show that ethnic and racial minorities are disproportionately burdened with both environmentally hazardous facilities and urban air pollution. The most recent research on environmental justice issues has focused on the process behind environmental 'injustices'. This research has focused on economic and political explanations and generally assumes a deliberate targeting of minority communities because of social, political or economic interests.
This study looks at the implementation of the Illinois Solid Waste Management Act of 1988, in two counties in north eastern Illinois, Kankakee and Will. The study shows that 'environmental injustice' is not limited to the siting of hazardous facilities or the occurrence of pollution, but occurs just as well in the development of a solid waste management strategy. In neither of the two counties, minorities were asked to become involved in the planning process, and out of a total of 91 advisory committee members, minority interests were represented by one black male. At the same time racial minorities made up about 15 percent of the total population in the two counties.
The study shows that existing explanations for a lack of participation of racial minorities are too simple and have over-emphasized economic and political processes. This study shows that the processes behind environmental injustice are much more subtle and not led by a willful or deliberate targeting of minority neighborhoods. Instead, the process is led by misconceptions among planners and decision-makers and a general 'white middle class' approach to solid waste issues. The conclusion of this study is that it is the belief held by local planners and decision-makers that there is a lack of interest in environmental issues among blacks, that produced a planning process in which the interests of minorities were not represented!
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Vos, Jacobus Johannes
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702703
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702703

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