Toxic disputes and the rise of environmental justice in Australia

Abel Publication Services
Publication Type:
Journal article
Lloyd-Smith Mariann and Bell L 2003, 'Toxic disputes and the rise of environmental justice in Australia', Abel Publication Services, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 14-23.
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The paper examines the rise of environmental justice issues in Australia, evident in two toxic disputes; the first, in a Perth outer suburb in Western Australia where residents faced both a hazardous waste dump and the nation's biggest chemical fire; and the second, in the Sydney suburb of Botany where residents were confronted with the destruction of what is thought to be, the world's largest stockpile of hazardous hexachlorobenzene (HCB) waste. The paper reviews the range of factors that impacted the local communities' fight for environmental justice. It explores the limitations of risk assessment and risk-based policies, as well as the problematic role of the expert and the communication of risk. The informational inequity and resource disparities so evident in toxic disputes are highlighted. The case studies confirmed the inequitable distribution of chemical risk as a failure to secure environmental justice for all Australians.
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