Syracuse: nationally known for environmental racism

No-one creates a blog like this one if they don’t love the city in which they live. But not all the news is good. Syracuse is being used, fairly, as an example of environmental racism. Did you know that we were featured in Ms. Magazine last spring? Take a look. From that article:

The civic leaders of Syracuse, like those in other places, put sewage and water-treatment plants, along with numerous other environmental hazards, within or very close to the city’s poor communities. Not surprisingly, the health problems experienced by residents of those communities as a result of the pollutants are tremendous. To take just one measure, the asthma rate of the predominately African American community situated on the edge of Syracuse’s industrialized area and the interstate is 13 times higher than in the rest of Onondaga County. Women and children in particular bear the brunt of the health problems.

I don’t know about you, but I find this appalling. If you have ever watched your own child nearly die of asthma, as I have, you know what real terror is. It’s not coming from Afghanistan or Iraq. It’s coming from the toxins in the air and the soil and the very bedroom where your child sleeps. Our neighbors in the Midland Community of Syracuse live with this terror every day.

If Onondaga County is willing to put the health of one neighborhood at risk, why should it not be willing to do the same in Eastwood? What could possibly make us exempt? We need to ask ourselves: Do I think this problem belongs to the other who lives elsewhere? Do I honestly believe that it does not impact me, my own body, my own family?

If you recognize that we really are all connected, particularly in this small community we call Syracuse, then by all means, read this website and sign the petition.

Maybe that’s not a compelling enough argument.

Let’s talk about the impact to your bank account. A letter published in the Post-Standard of November 12, 2007, stated the following, in part:

What has not been publicized, and may not be known by taxpayers, is the impact these exorbitant costs will have on their sewer rates. In 1998 when the county announced the Lake Cleanup Project, it estimated that over the next 35 years the per-household sewer rate would go from $238 to $590.

Over the last two years the costs for the Midland Avenue and Clinton Street sewage plants have more than doubled from original engineering estimates. Using the current sewage project costs and the county’s projection method, the $238 household tax will be at least $1,151 in 2033, almost five times the 1998 rate.

Now who’s paying the price of environmental racism?

Read more about it. Sign the petition. Get educated, get involved. Make a big noise.

What you don’t know does hurt you.

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