In the richest country on planet Earth, there are places where people are sick and dying, because they live with raw sewage in their back and front yards.
NBC reporter Yamiche Alcindor traveled to Lowndes County, Alabama, and spoke with residents who live in these conditions. Many would think these kinds of conditions wouldn’t exist in America, but they do.
“County officials responsible for part of the sewer system could not be reached for comment. Sherry Bradley, director of the state Department of Public Health’s Office of Environmental Services, appeared at a Justice Department hearing to defend the agency.
She is adamant that the Justice Department will find no wrongdoing. She argues that when it comes to running sewer lines from a home to the county system, it’s up to the home owner,” writes journalist Yamiche Alcindor.
In Lowndes County, where 40% of the community is poor and struggles every day to eat, it would seem absurd for people to find money to fix their sewer problems.
The majority of residents in this rural community are black, and failing sewage systems have existed for decades, and sewage pools have accumulated in homes and playgrounds.
It’s obvious that a public health crisis exists, but Sherry Bradley, director of the state’s Office of Environmental Services, a black woman, suggests that addictions could be a solution to some of the communities’ problems.
This is a textbook on systemic racism, and it takes the black community back 100 years.
Robert D. Bullard, an Alabama native, professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University and a man some call the “father of environmental justice,” says this about Alabama’s environmental crisis.
“Race has been the biggest determinant of who gets infrastructure and who gets left behind. It’s as if racism has kept this county underdeveloped. And that keeps them underdeveloped, which has knock-on effects in terms of life expectancy.
This sewage crisis in Alabama is a public health crisis, which is also a racist and discriminatory crisis.
This destroys the quality of life in the community and many residents are sick.
Catherine Coleman Flowers, an environmental activist and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient who grew up in Lowndes County, has worked on the county’s waste problem for years.
When America spends $13.6 billion in Ukraine and continues to spend more money, the question must be asked, “What is happening to the sick and dying people in America?”
These conditions are not just occurring in rural parts of the state, but are reaching into poor sections of any state, and there is an environmental public health crisis. It’s easy to look in a different direction, but people are sick and dying.
Public health crisis
Racism is a public health crisis and April is Minority Health Month. When a black woman comes up with addictions to solve a rough sewage problem, which has been around for years, there are fundamental leadership issues.
Instead of spending millions to fix a problem, they tell the community that it’s their responsibility to fix it.
It’s so easy not to care in America, because it happens every day. When small environmental problems go uncorrected, they continue to grow until they become a crisis and people start dying.
The poor deserve to live a quality life; we just need our leaders to tell the truth and care.
Roger Caldwell, community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. Contact him at [email protected]