Home Media Why We Put Polluting Industry In The Black Part Of Town

Why We Put Polluting Industry In The Black Part Of Town



This is a dreadful story:

A metal recycling plant is due to open on the polluted Southeast Side months after the same firm shut a metal scrapyard in a white, affluent part of town.

Dreadful not because of what is going on – that’s entirely sensible – but the reporting of it.

The basics are that a car shredder – which is just what it sounds like, a machine that cuts up cars – is to be placed in an already industrial area in the black part of town. The older plant which is being closed down is in the richer, whiter part of town.

The first dreadfulness about the story is that we’re told it’s a metals recycling pant. As if there are furnaces and all that, which there ain’t. It’s a shredder. It cuts stuff up. There’s no pollution to be had – well, OK, bit of VOCs. Volatile Organic Compounds, otherwise known as the oil in the engines etc. This is easily dealt with, put a scrubber on the air exit. Which they’re doing. They’ve also placed it on a vast site so that the actual machinery – in a sealed building – is half a mile from the boundary.

Yes, you do put such plants in urban areas because that’s where all the old cars are.

So, firstly we’ve all that panic about pollution from a process that doesn’t really have any pollution.

Secondly we’ve all that whingeing from what we’re supposed to be doing, recycling stuff. How are we to have that closed loop economy if we can’t build a plant to recycle stuff?

The third complaint is that about race. Which isn’t, in fact, what is happening. Yes, this is an old industrial area yes, it has been previously polluted by all sorts of stuff. But that’s not why it’s being placed there. Nor is there an intention to move from the white part of town to the black.

The point is to move from the expensive part of town to the cheaper. You want hundreds of acres of urban land you’re going to go to the cheap part of town. You should go to the cheap part of town too.

The race thing is just that blacks are – they shouldn’t be perhaps but they are – poorer than whites in the US. On average, of course. So, where do poorer people live? In the cheaper parts of town.

The connection between this factory and race is that both, the factory and the poor people, are in search of cheaper land. And, umm, that’s it.

Which is what The Guardian builds up a story about racial oppression from.




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in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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