Thursday, February 18, 2010

Toxic Legacy: The Dirty Truth

By Katie Lukshis

I’ve heard about “Toxic Legacy” before in a previous class, so I already knew some background about the story. The thing that is different now compared to when I first learned about it, is that I didn’t really pay attention to the actual story behind the report. What goes on behind the doors of the Ford Company is kept private for a very good reason; all the corruption that happens needs to be kept from those getting hurt the most from their actions. The Ramapoughs were taken advantage of because they are viewed as minorities or lower class. When they tried to speak out and get someone to notice what had been happening in their neighborhood, nobody listened. I don’t understand how people with money feel it’s ethical to treat those that don’t in such demeaning way. The Ramapoughs had to deal with bizarre illnesses with medical bills as a result, and ultimately, the death of children and other members of the community. The EPA, a governmental agency that is supposed to protect the environment, didn’t pay attention to this community and their cries for help. Instead, the EPA claimed all spots in this Ringwood area were cleared of paint sludge. The worst part of it all is that many, if not all, of these people want to leave the area but can’t. It may be a money issue, or it may just be fear, but they still live in toxic neighborhoods and are still putting their health and lives at risk.

Another shocking part of this story that I wasn’t expecting was the Mob’s involvement. The Mob is something you hear about every so often, but you never really hear details about their involvement with companies and the things they do. They were going into this community and helping Ford dump their waste. The frightening part about this occurrence was that when the people tried to stop the Mob from what they were doing, their lives were threatened. They no longer had any control over where they lived and what was happening there, and they had no one to try and stop it. These people knew that they had to take matters into their own hands and complain about it until something was done.

I think the most awakening aspect of this report is that you’ll never really know just how safe your water is, or how safe the area you’re living in is. Poor communities all around the country are treated unjustly solely because of the amount of money they have. They’re the ones being exposed to toxic chemicals and contamination of their water. It is unfair that people are forced into these conditions, and are rarely helped out in the end. The only way to help these communities out is to bring their stories, like “Toxic Legacy,” to the public so that there is more support for them.

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