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Toxic Colonialism

Last updated: May 27, 2017

What Does Toxic Colonialism Mean?

The term toxic colonialism was coined by Greenpeace activist Jim Puckett in 1992. It refers to the export of toxic waste from the West to third world countries, but in the US context is applied to the use of Native American reservations as convenient dumping sites for toxic waste.

Safeopedia Explains Toxic Colonialism

The health, safety and environment of underprivileged communities can suffer significant damage through the dumping of toxic waste. In general, these communities are not sufficiently empowered by resources, education and knowledge to adequately resist this practice. Although reservations are subject to laws that may make it easier for industries to implement dumping programs without violating any laws, the practice is unethical. However, it is primarily the export of toxic waste, particularly to Africa, that is currently receiving the most attention form academics and activists while accidents, such as the 2015 contamination of the River of Souls, are also being linked to toxic colonialism.


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