Danger Diminished Natural Resource Area

The year is 1945 the Second World War is over and the cold war is just beginning; in New Mexico mining of uranium is at its all-time high, mining companies are making millions and the United States government is getting the material to make atomic weapons, all on the back of the Navajo Nation.  During the middle of the twentieth century jobs were scarce for much of the population, especially in the Southwest, to make ends meet many Navajo men went to work in the uranium mines.  The work was dangerous, the pay was small, and the conditions were deplorable.  At the end of the 1950’s cancer rates for miners were higher than any other area of the United States.  Even though companies disregarded health reports and the warning signs and officials were slow to address the workers concerns; the Navajo miners, were denied compensation for the suffering they went through (Benally, 1997).  The case study can be found at this link http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/sdancy.html

At the beginning of the 1990’s the population in Mexico City, Mexico was 16.8 million and the gross national product (GNP) was a dismal 2,971 U.S. dollars.  The increase in the inhabitants of Mexico City was from the arrival of migrants from the surrounding economically depressed areas.  The population growth directly impacted the Mexico City’s water and air qualities.  In addition, the city was the site of 48% of all Mexican industries; resulting in an increase of demand on natural resources.  In 1992, there was an explosion of one of the city’s sewer system, this led to contamination of the water table resulting in more than 100 deaths.  The outcome resulted in the creation of the National Institute of Ecology and the Environmental Attorney General.  These agencies were tasked with developing environmental regulation and protection guidelines.  However, the increase in the oversight from environmental authorities did little combat the increasing urbanization and industrialization in Mexico City (Pennsylvania State University Library).

The first location described in the above is not comparable to my hometown of Swedesboro, New Jersey.  The total population of Swedesboro based on the 2010 census is 10,300 people.  The majority of the population are upper middle class transplants from Philadelphia suburbs and other areas within the Southern New Jersey.  However, the second paragraph is slightly similar to Swedesboro, but close to the pollution laden Mexico City.  The reason I can make a comparison is because Swedesboro is located between Salem nuclear power plant and Chester refinery.  However, the majority of our community has city water and sewer treatment center, meaning the threat of contamination is minimal.  The one condition that I am concerned about is the air quality.  The byproduct of the refining process and the release of CO2, NOx, and SO2 is something that will require monitoring.


Benally, Timothy, Sr. “Environmental Justice for the Navajo: Uranium Mining in the Southwest.” In Motion (1997). Web. <http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/sdancy.html

“Are Megacities Viable? A Cautionary Tale from Mexico City.” Environment 38.1 (1996). Pennsylvania State University Library.

Bicycle Usage in Japan & Marcopper Mining Corporation

Case 1: This case study comes from Colby College, and it takes place in Japan. This is the link to the case study http://personal.colby.edu/personal/t/thtieten/trans-jap.html . This case study focuses on the the possibility that bicycles can be feasible form of transportation in Japan. In the later 1960s, the bus system was not working out for the Japanese citizens (due to factors such as being pricey, inconvenient, and slow), thus they took on bicycling. Bicycling became so abundant that there was a bike pollution issue. The government of Japan realized this biking was in favor so their goal was to discourage automobile usage by raising the ownership fees of an automobile. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because the end uses of bicycles as transportation are not only “being in the places that we want to be,” but saving money, promoting exercise, and less CO2 pollution that would harm the environment.

Case 2: This next case study comes from an Environmental Justice Case study from the University of Michigan, and it takes place on the Marinduque Island in the Philippines. This is the link to this case study http://www.umich.edu/%7Esnre492/Jones/marcopper.htm . This case study focuses on the Marcopper Mining Corporation and how the operations caused various health and environmental problems. Moreover, mining has contaminated the water supply making drinking water scarce and killing fish. This caused people to obtain lung cancer from the “red dust” and become poisoned from the polluted water. Although no solution can diminish the damage, the goal of this case study is to cleanse the environment, somehow make it up to the people affected, and simply guarantee that this will not happen again. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because it shows the downsides of development and environmental justice. The people of the Marinduque Island clearly faced the “environmental bads” of the Marcopper Mining Corporation since toxins were released in the water and the air causing health and environmental problems on their island.

These case studies both connect to the area where I live, Scranton, PA.  Just like in both case studies and many areas around the world, my area has pollution problems, too. The first case about bicycle usage oppositely connects to my area because it is not common to ride bikes for transportation. I think that we should learn from the Japanese and encourage more people to ride bikes due to the many benefits such as reducing pollution that would come from automobile use. As for the Marcopper Mining Corporation, this reminds me of an issue that occurred in my nearby hometown, Throop. Not too long ago (1980s), a company named Marjol Battery (a superfund site) buried batteries and battery casings in a residential area. This resulted with the land and water to become toxic with lead and arsenic. This caused local residents to face health issues such as neurological problems and cancer. Many people in the area had to go for lead blood testing (including myself and my family).  Just like the case study in the Philippines, the health and environmental affects from the batteries could not be undone.