Toxic Soil Busters: Youth Reverse Inner-City Lead Pollution (Video)

toxic soil busters cooperative business photo

Image credit: Permaculture TV

From climate change disproportionately impacting minority communities, to Majora Carter's moving account of environmental injustice in the ghetto, we already know that sustainability is not just an environmental issue, but an economic and social one. One group of youth is seeking to reverse the impact of pollution and neglect in inner city neighborhoods in Worcester, MA—cleaning up yards that contain dangerous levels of pollutants, and creating sustainable livelihoods in the process. These are the Toxic Soil Busters. Driven by the knowledge that poor communities are disproportionately affected by a legacy of lead pollution, caused mostly by the use of cheap, long-lasting lead paint—the Toxic Soil Busters is a cooperative business that was formed by youth to clean up contaminated yards, and produce low-cost, low-impact landscaping in the process.

As sixteen-year-old Janice Serrano explains, the yard in which she has played since she was a child, and in which her nine-year-old brother now runs around, exhibits levels of lead contamination that are at least 3 times what is considered safe. So Janice dons her lab coat, runs some tests, and sets about making it right. Together with her friends, she even busts out some music in the process...

More on Environmental Justice
Climate Change Hits African Americans and the Poor Hardest
Majora Carter on Greening the Ghetto
EPA Revives Environmental Justice Working Group

Related Content on