Environmental racism

Other Names:

Environmental racism, ecological racism, or ecological apartheid is a form of institutional racism leading to landfills, incinerators, and hazardous waste disposal being disproportionately placed in communities of color. Internationally, it is also associated with extractivism, which places the environmental burdens of mining, oil extraction, and industrial agriculture upon indigenous peoples and poorer nations largely inhabited by people of color.

Response to environmental racism has contributed to the environmental justice movement, which developed in the United States and abroad throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Environmental racism may disadvantage minority groups or numerical majorities, as in South Africa where apartheid had debilitating environmental impacts on Black people. Internationally, trade in global waste disadvantages global majorities in poorer countries largely inhabited by people of color. It also applies to the particular vulnerability of indigenous groups to environmental pollution. Environmental racism is a form of institutional racism, which has led to the disproportionate disposal of hazardous waste in communities of color in Russia. Environmental racism is a type of inequality where people in communities of color and other low income communities face a disproportionate risk of exposure to pollution and related health conditions.


Examples include the siting of polluting factories (sewage treatment, smokestacks) in residential areas of particular ethnic or minority groups. It is also evident in the new political trend of eco-racism which talks of "demographic pollution" and blames immigrants for consumption of more resources, higher emissions of pollutants, and more waste.

Related Problems:
Forest cleansing
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 15: Life on Land
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
27.11.2020 – 16:02 CET