Having served on two statewide environmental boards for five years each, I went on many site visits and tours throughout California. By far the most lasting impact was from the “toxic tour” put on by Communities for a Better Environment.
That bus tour through the heavily polluted industrial neighborhoods southeast of Los Angeles taught me the reality of environmental justice (or injustice). After experiencing the tour, my state board worked hard to stop passing the buck from agency to agency; our efforts resulted in the removal in 2004 of the large piles of unsightly concrete and other waste known as “La Montana” from Huntington Park.
Communities for a Better Environment is to be congratulated for opening the eyes of state officials to the serious consequences of their decisions.
My business, a “light” manufacturing and distribution company, is located in one of the neighborhoods mentioned in the article.
I recycle thousands of pounds of cardboard and paper a year, thousands of broken wooden pallets that are typically reconstructed into usable ones, and thousands of pounds of metals that I use to make my products.
The article notes that the tour goes by animal carcass rendering facilities, auto battery recycling plants and auto and junk recycling yards. Without these businesses, what would happen to the thousands of dead animals that are taken off the streets as well as the millions of auto batteries that are discarded each year?
The picture from the bus window may not be pretty, but the businesses covered by this tour are absolutely essential.