Because they do not have the money to solve the problem for themselves. If the population as a whole has created a problem they are the ones that truly have to live with it. Rich people can buy air purifiers, rich people can move, rich people have the power that enables them to be heard and much more effective advocates of change. Also, a lot of the pollution that is created in cities, and by generally more affluent people, is suffered by the people in surrounding rural areas, who are generally poorer than their city counterparts. Not to mention the poor people are the ones in the mines – meaning they are the ones in the inhospitable, terrible conditions that must be faced to make money and live and supply the rich people with all the crap they want. If you are rich you simply are more able to deal with a number of problems, especially in America. A wonderful example of poor people being much more affected by the same thing or similar situations is the bubonic plague. The rich were able to leave cities and go to their other houses away from populations and were able to – as a class – remain much safer than those who were forced to stay where they were.
An example of an Environmental Justice issue is lead paint. Richer people are often safe from lead paint hazards because their housing is in good shape. However, poorer people cannot afford good housing and they often live in apartments with deteriorating paint.
It is a similar story for other environmental issues as well.
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