Earth Day protest: Clean up this mess

To residents of one predominantly black neighborhood, environmental issues mean how, and how long, they live

Topics: Earth Day, Environment, San Francisco,

Earth Day may have devolved from a spontaneous outburst of benevolence toward nature to a green marketing opportunity in its 40-year history, but for a group of activists and residents of contaminated areas in San Francisco, the day has retained its value. Standing outside the Pacific Gas & Electric headquarters this week, residents of Bayview-Hunters Point, a predominantly African-American section in southeast San Francisco, and activists from the group Greenaction chanted for clean air.

For 25 years, residents of the area fought for the closure of a polluting PG&E power plant. They finally got what they wanted in 2006, but they say the damage had been done, the cleanup has been ineffective, and the effects have lingered.

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