The term superfund site was first defined by the compensation and liabilities act of 1980 as a toxic waste site which requires cleanup (Smith, 2010, p.
2). Basically, such sites are listed under the National priorities list as requiring government sponsored clean-up exercises because of the danger they pose to the general environment. Superfund sites are therefore abandoned waste sites that require clean up; a task which is normally undertaken by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Smith, 2010, p. 2).
A major Superfund site in Eastern United States is the 914th Airlift Wing – AFRC, located just beneath the Love Canal, Niagra falls in New York (EPA, 2010). This site originally grew out of the outright neglect of the environment by the locals and other inhabitants surrounding the area.
This site is located in region 2, under the EPA categorization of Superfund sites in the US (EPA, 2010, p. 1). Its possible existence is nothing different from the factors leading to the emergence of more than 250 superfund sites in Eastern US because it started from the disposal of toxic waste materials by businessmen operating in the region (EPA, 2010, p.
1). The site’s emergence was caused by accident spills and leaks that prompted the contamination of the ecosystem with toxic waste materials to destabilize the once sound human, animal and plant coexistence in the region.
The biggest problem noted with the 914th Airlift Wing – AFRC supersite is the obvious abandonment of the environment by the locals and relevant authorities. It is a well-known fact that the supersite emerged out of decades of neglect by the relevant authorities and locals (EPA, 2010, p. 1). Constant toxicity had been noted in the region but little was done to stop the contamination. However, this problem was observed back in the 80s; today, even though a superfund program has been established, there is little evidence that there are concerted and coordinated efforts between the tribal and state governments which have the power to clean up the site (EPA, 2010, p. 1).
This is the major problem plaguing the area right now.
Considering 914th Airlift Wing – AFRC superfund site is located next to Niagra falls in New York; the major type of contamination has been water contamination. This has led to the death of aquatic life in the area and an equal loss of business because tourist activities have decreased with an increase in the contamination of water in the surrounding ecological zones. However, water contamination is not the only type of contamination in the area because soil and air contamination have also been evidenced (EPA, 2010, p. 1). This comes about because industrial activities in the area have greatly contributed to an increase in pollution but the most unfortunate thing is that; not much has been done to avert the situation in the past decade or so. Out of this neglect, surface water and ground water have been contaminated as well, and this poses a danger to the water supply of the area (considering surface and ground water are the major sources of water in the area).
The problem plaguing 914th Airlift Wing – AFRC site was majorly created by industrial activities in the area, coupled by pollution activities started by rogue businessmen operating in the region. These businessmen created the problem because from their industrial activities, they have constantly discharged toxic emissions into the air and existing water channels. This has in turn caused soil pollution. The reason why the problem escalated was neglect by the local authorities of the environmental degradation going on and so the businessmen took advantage of the situation to make more money and go unaccountable for their environmental pollution. Basically, they avoided using money to reduce their environmental impact and this worsened the situation further (EPA, 2010, p. 1).
Various zones of the 914th Airlift Wing – AFRC superfund site have in the past been cleaned out through various initiatives started by the local government. EPA has been at the forefront in doing so and through their website, they affirm that “By 2020, EPA and its state partners will strive to construct final remedies at 95% of the 3,746 facilities believed to need Corrective Action” (EPA, 2010, p.
1). These activities have been further supported by efforts to educate relevant stakeholders on the environmental impact of the industrial activities going on in the area but other efforts have been directed at providing guidance to businessmen and offering training and regulatory resources to reduce the rate of environmental degradation in the area (EPA, 2010, p. 1).
To avert the impact of pollution on the environment at 914th Airlift Wing – AFRC superfund site, there is a strong need to enforce environmental laws to deter people from causing further pollution. Firstly, it is important to enforce these laws because environmental concerns are not only a national issue but a global one (Goldstein, 2006, p. 1). There is therefore a strong need to protect global interests and not only local ones.
This means that the locality need not only be governed by local laws but also by international environmental laws. Furthermore, through the implementation of laws, businessmen can be prevented from causing further pollution because heavy fines will be imposed on them when they do so. This will ultimately deter everybody from polluting the environment.
EPA. (2010). New York Sites.
Retrieved 4 December, 2011, from:http://www.epa.gov/region02/cleanup/sites/nytoc_sitename.htm Goldstein, R.
(2006). What is Environmental Law and How Can You Study It? Retrieved 4 December, 2011, from:http://www.enviroeducation.com/features/enviro_law.
html Smith, S. (2010). What is a Superfund Site? Retrieved 4 December, 2011, from:http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-superfund-site.htm