I think the two issues- wealth disparity and environmental harm- are very closely connected. People who live in poorer areas tend to lack the social and political means to defend themselves from harmful dumping and emissions from chemical plants. Such communities are treated as dumps by corporations who want to avoid the costs of clean production. For example, in the rural areas of Louisiana, petrochemical plants dominate the landscape, disproportionately exposing poor, often black communities to extremely harmful chemicals in the air and water. If wealth was distributed equally, it is arguable these people would have access to the information and education necessary to fight for their right to health and well-being. Unfortunately, globalization has opened up even more opportunities for first-world corporations to exploit the lax environmental protection laws in less developed nations. This has resulted in atrocious incidents such as the Bhopal gas leak in India, which killed thousands of poor people who lived near the U.S.-based chemical plant and continues to wreak untold harm.
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