Earth Day protest: Clean up this mess

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

Published April 24, 2010 12:30AM (EDT)

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.

By Miranda Simon

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